In a statement, Christine Kuch, spokesperson of NSPCA, said it has become increasingly evident that reckless individuals are using such events to use fireworks in a particularly anti-social manner. This includes ignoring restrictions and causing damage to property, as well as terrifying people and animals.
“The SPCA does not enforce the laws relating to the use of fireworks. The regulations, both local and national, are watertight. The Explosives Act is enforced by police to whom matters of concern need to be reported. This act covers sale of fireworks as well as issues relating to the discharge of fireworks in public places,” said Kuch.
Local bylaws, which vary, regulate the discharge of fireworks on private property. In some municipalities, permits are required and in other areas there is dispensation for Diwali between specified times.
“It is illegal to sell fireworks in the open. Anyone with an animal is requested to be responsible and to ensure the animalâ€™s safety and comfort. The hearing of animals is more acute and sensitive than the hearing of a human. If a dog can hear a grasshopper eat, imagine what a firework sounds like. Stay with your pets. Keep them indoors. If an animal is sensitive by nature, then consult your veterinarian for advice,” she added.
She urged that residents must avoid giving medication intended for humans to animals and above all, ensure that animals are not in danger of harming themselves if they bolt or react when a firework is discharged in the area. Despite regulations and appeals for calm, this can occur.
The organisation has also asked everyone to ensure that animals have identification. Hooligan, dangerous and illegal behaviour relating to fireworks needs to be reported to the South African Police Service, giving full details, or to the Metro police if they enforce bylaws in that specific area.
The SPCA extends good wishes to everyone celebrating Diwali and said they trust that this year the celebrations will be in accordance with the true spirit of the Festival of Lights.
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