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SPCA bemoans ‘worst Guy Fawkes in years’

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The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is still dealing with a flood of complaints of distressed animals affected by the loud bangs of fireworks on Guy Fawkes Day on Wednesday evening. The SPCA says this year’s Guy Fawkes Day was the worst in years. On Wednesday evening, the SPCA’s Inspection Unit was inundated with more than 40 complaints from animal owners before 11pm, all relating to the illegal setting off of fireworks in their area. SPCA public relations officer, Monica Davids, said their inspectors had experienced one of the busiest evenings for a number of years. Matters were further complicated by the fact that the calls were barely a few minutes apart, meaning inspectors were forced to run from location to location to address the problems.

“It was a crazy night, and we are still experiencing a flood of calls even today. Guy Fawkes doesn’t just happen on one night for animal welfare organizations, it continues for a number of weeks. We see the results, and we see the consequences for weeks afterwards,” she said.

Apart from the SPCA, the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement was also

active on Wednesday trying to contain a wave of complaints relating to the illegal discharge of fireworks. Davids paid recognition to the efforts of the police services, which had doubled the number of fines issued, compared to last year. However, she was adamant that more education was needed amongst the community, to highlight the negative impacts of letting off fireworks illegally, and not in the designated zones.

“People are still getting injured, and animals are also paying with their lives for our entertainment. There is definitely a lot still to be done,” she insisted.

Despite the overwhelming number of calls, she stated that the SPCA had not experienced any incidents of animals being deliberately targeted with firecrackers, which was a welcome and positive sign. However, there were still a number of incidents that could still be attributed to the use of fireworks.

“This is such as a dog that was knocked over by a car, and severed its spine. He subsequently died on Wednesday night. Another dog ripped his mouth, whilst trying to escape a property,” she noted.

Several incidents were also reported to police services regard children who were harmed as a result of the fireworks. As a result, Davids said they would be calling for stricter and tighter punishments to be instituted, as part of the cities by-law relating to noise management.

“We will be calling for stricter penalties for anyone who doesn’t obey the law, because that is the only way that we will hopefully make a dent in stopping people using them illegally,” she said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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