Northampton charity warn of pets being hurt of burned by shrapnel ahead of fireworks season

"Fireworks Fortnight" has trading standard and Cat's Protection League worried

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 5:52 pm
Even a small display can pose risks if not performed properly

From Halloween to Diwali and then on to Guy Fawkes' night, the next two weeks are set for many exciting fireworks displays, leading some to brand it the "Fireworks Fortnight". But all those loud bangs are reportedly having downsides for our furrier neighbours.

According to Northampton' s Cat Protection League, fireworks can be highly distressing to cats and dogs alike, leading some to hide in fear or even run away from home. The league also reports instances of cats being hurt or burned by shrapnel from illegal, cheaply-made fireworks that can threaten humans as well.

Diana Johnson, who is the chapter's spokesperson, said that: "Cats and dogs alike are terrified of fireworks and so they often run away. A big percentage of our missing cats become lost right after fireworks displays. Even if they don't run away, the shock can have a lasting effect. So Fireworks Fortnight is always one we watch out for.

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"In other cases we have animals who get burned or injured by bits fireworks as they hit the ground.

"If you want to see fireworks, you should go to an officially organised fireworks display or at the very least let your neighbours know before you go setting anything off.

"My advice to cat owners is to keep your pets in once we get into the afternoon. Provide them with an enclosed, comfortable spot to ride out the noise and be a calming presence for them."

West Northamptonshire Council’s Trading Standards team has raised similar concerns about the quality, (and legality), of some of the fireworks being used. They have reminded people to buy only from licensed sellers, and to avoid the temptation to pick up cheap fireworks from the back of a van, a market stall, or on social media.

They said: "All fireworks sold in the UK must carry the CE or UKCA mark and come with English labelling and instructions. Fireworks which lack this will not have been put through the same rigorous testing as genuine fireworks, and could pose a serious risk to public safety."

The safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a properly organised public display, but those who choose to have a firework party at home should always follow the Firework Code

Councillor David Smith, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Engagement, and Regulatory Services on West Northamptonshire Council, said: “We want people to enjoy the upcoming festivities safely and responsibly, and there are lots of fantastic professional displays taking place in communities across the West Northamptonshire area which I would encourage you to support.

“If you do decide to hold a display at home, please be very careful who you buy your fireworks from. The advice from our Trading Standards team is to only to buy from shops which you recognise and trust. If you’re buying online, only use websites belonging to fully licensed firework companies and avoid buying them via social media.

People are encouraged to report any suspected illegal products or sellers to Trading Standards by contacting Citizens Advice and Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.