In an ironic twist of fate, Snoopy, SPCA National staff member Helen Wium’s beloved dog, has been one of the latest victims of fireworks.
On the night of January 2nd, whilst staying with friends, honorary SPCA ‘staff member’ Snoopy was spooked by fireworks let off in suburban Pakuranga and ran off into the night.
Snoopy was microchipped and wore a collar with Council tags and contact details attached. She was listed on Pets on the Net, Facebook and Trade Me as missing and flyers were distributed around the neighbourhood. After 7 days missing, she was finally found today hiding under a house, skinny, frightened, with abraded paws and minus her collar.
Last year in light of death, injury and distress of animals during Guy Fawkes, the Royal New Zealand SPCA called for Government to institute a complete ban on fireworks for personal use, in line with Australian public policy. Flight due to fear of fireworks often results in harm to animals and distress to owners, and SPCA Centres throughout New Zealand invariably see an increase in pets straying around the Guy Fawkes period.
“We have many reports of animals going missing over the Guy Fawkes period and now, in losing Snoopy, we have an example that typifies the upsetting, and sometimes tragic, results of fireworks use at other times of year when people feel they need to make a big bang to celebrate”, says Robyn Kippenberger, SPCA National Chief Executive.
“We know that people stockpile fireworks while they are on sale. The only way to stop these tragedies is to ban fireworks for personal use entirely. There is a great deal of public support, with Facebook and other media registering up to 67% support for a complete ban, and we will again be asking Government to end this reckless practice.”
Last Guy Fawkes a dog died after it jumped through a glass window in terror, and a cat that was running for its life scared by fireworks was hit by a car and killed instantly. Some of the pets scared by fireworks are still yet to be found.
While pet owners are advised to take special precautions to protect their pets over the Guy Fawkes period, they cannot be expected to keep animals confined indefinitely. As predicted by SPCA, it is apparent that members of the community have stockpiled fireworks, letting them off over the Christmas and New Year period. This has resulted in further reports of anxious owners listing their missing pets on websites such as Pets on the Net.
"Petsonthenet.co.nz is the nationwide database for lost and found pets, publishing over 5000 lost and found pet ads each month from the public, SPCAs, pounds and vets,” says Kim Buchanan from Pets on the Net.
“At Guy Fawkes approximately two dozen pets were reported as missing to Pets on the Net due to being scared by fireworks. More went missing during Rugby World Cup fireworks, Christmas and New Years’," she says.
If you have lost, found, or sighted a potentially lost animal, even a deceased one, please report it to www.petsonthenet.co.nz, and if your pet is lost check the found pet ads daily until your pet is home.
If you find an animal, it is strongly advised that it is taken to a local vet so they can scan the animal for a microchip which will assist in reuniting the pet with its owners. Phone your local SPCA or local animal control as the owner will be anxiously awaiting your call.