Fireworks and pet safety during the summer
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
With gradually loosening COVID restrictions, people may turn to personal celebrations with the detonation of fireworks this summer.
The booming sounds, with sparkling lights that fill many people’s hearts with joy, can be terrifying and overwhelming for pets, shared Lynda Ducharme, Chair of the Sioux Looks Out For Paws animal rescue board. She added that, in distress due to the fireworks, animals often run out and hurt themselves.
“We had an animal that broke its leg trying to get away, it was so scared. We’ve had where they take off and the owners have to go looking. It’s very traumatic for them, and we could look into quiet fireworks as an alternate…in some cities they have actually outlawed, they can only use the quiet ones. I think that’s the solution, and people have to do it, because it’s bad for the animals…and it’s just a very noisy kind of fun thing to do,” said Ducharme.
Ducharme said that she hopes the Municipality will consider a by-law restricting some use of fireworks, and promote the use of silent fireworks. She added that she would like to see local stores and events switch to the supply and use of silent fireworks.
Ontario’s Ministry of the Solicitor General shared on their website that while it does not recommend family fireworks or informal neighborhood displays, that anyone still choosing to do so must discharge fireworks well away from children, and combustible materials like buildings, trees and dry grass, and always have a water hose or pail of water handy.
The website further advises that people carefully read and follow the label directions on fireworks packaging, and consider wind conditions. “Never try to light a firework in your hand or re-light dud fireworks. For dud fireworks, it is best to wait 30 minutes and soak them in a bucket of water. Dispose of them in a metal container,” the website stated, adding, “If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes and seek medical attention, if necessary.”
Municipal Clerk Brian P. MacKinnon shared that while the municipality doesn’t have a fireworks by-law, a Municipal by-law states, “No person shall emit, cause, or permit the emission of an Unwarranted Noise at any time when the Noise emitted is clearly audible at a Point of Reception.” This by-law covers fireworks among other sources.
There is opportunity for people to apply to Council for an exemption from the by-law. They must submit a request in writing, no less than 30 days prior to the date for which exemption is requested, and shall not exceed a period of six months, states a by-law that prohibits and regulates noise within the municipality.
The Municipality also recently shared a post on their Facebook page reminding community members to think twice before leaving their pets in hot vehicles.
“I would like to caution pet owners that you may think they are okay, but it is very dangerous for them. And it’s criminal if they die, there can be charges laid,” shared Ducharme, adding, “Most importantly, you don’t want to lose your animal, your family.”
Ducharme shared that when temperatures soar, a car can quickly heat up proving to be fatal to the animal. She said, “It gets so hot in there and it endangers the animal’s life, and the owner is also liable for criminal charges if that happens. What happens is, it’s so hot that the dog can’t do its normal cooling process like panting, and a dog in a 40 degree Celsius temperature for a few minutes can have brain damage and death. The older the animal is, the more vulnerable they are.”
Ducharme suggested that if the pet owner is a known person to the observer, whom they think might be approachable; it may be a good idea to express your concern. She clarified that even if the animal just got back from a swim and the car windows are rolled down, the temperatures could get really high, and dangerous for them to be left in a vehicle.
“Most people think, I’m just gonna run in for a few seconds. But, what you don’t realize is maybe there’ll be line-ups; you might not get out in a couple of minutes. It’s just not worth the chance,” said Ducharme. “Leave your pets at home when it’s really hot, where they have water and shade. I know a lot of people love to take their animals everywhere they go, and I can respect that. But, at the same time we have to be careful, we have to be safe with them. Not a good way to die!” she added.
Ducharme suggested that people could tap on the window of the vehicle to ensure if the animal is conscious. She said that while it is better for the animal to be left with the air conditioning on, along with some water to help stay cool, it may not be entirely safe in every situation.
Ducharme said that people must call 911 if they notice an animal in distress, being left alone in a hot vehicle.