Bang Out of Order

A Bristol Animal Charity and well-known animal lover Metro Mayor Dan Norris are joining forces to call on all residents to be mindful of the needs of animals as Bonfire Night approaches.

Speaking from Bristol Animal Rescue Centre (Bristol ARC) the Mayor highlighted heart-breaking research about how many animals suffer at this time of year.

The RSPCA say 63% of animals – dogs, cats and horses included – show “signs of distress” as a result of fireworks. Fireworks can also cause big problems for farmers with agitated livestock leading to lower production and getting loose from their fields and seriously injuring themselves and others. Poultry especially are at risk of a “smother,” where birds huddle together which can result in some birds dying. Most reports are from private displays rather than public ones.

Last year, Bristol ARC said they had big, big influx of stray dogs around Bonfire Night as dogs escape their homes out of fear of fireworks and end up there. And at the centre too, the dogs, cats and other furry creatures hate fireworks – many tremble and shake with fear.

However, 69% of UK adults do take measures to help relax or prepare pets, horses and livestock for firework season and Bristol ARC are encouraging even more people to act responsibly this year by producing a top ten tips factsheet.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “Bonfire Night is a British tradition. But for animals, who don’t have a clue what’s going on, it can spell stress. So please use fireworks considerately. My own dog Angel struggles at this time of year but finds it reassuring knowing I am at home with her. In the run up to the big day, I’d encourage owners to try to make the night as un-Bonfire-Night-like as possible. Have a look at Bristol ARC’s top tips and maybe create a safe haven with all your pets’ favourite blankets and cuddly toys, stick on Pet Classics on Classic FM for some calm, relaxing music and have a nice chilled-out evening”.

Zita Polgar, Senior Animal Behaviourist at Bristol Animal Rescue Centre said: “Each animal’s response to fireworks is different, but some pets might tremble, shut down, or freeze. Some might panic, causing physical injury to themselves or others around them, or damage furniture. They may try to escape or run away. It can be distressing for pet owners to see, especially if you’re unprepared”.

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