The Scottish SPCA is urging animal lovers in the Highlands and Islands to support its appeal to the UK and Scottish governments to tighten laws on the sale and use of fireworks.
The animal welfare charity has launched a fresh campaign seeking restrictions on the days when fireworks can be sold and set off. It is also encouraging anyone who has witnessed animals suffering as a result of being exposed to fireworks to write to their MP and MSP in support of its proposals.
At present, fireworks can be used in public on any day of the year between 7am and 11pm, with laws further relaxed for major occasions including 5th November, New Year’s Eve, the Chinese New Year and Hindu festival Diwali.
The SSPCA wants the law tightened so that fireworks can only be set off in defined festival periods, rather than year round. It also wants their sale to be restricted to the week preceding 5th November.
Legislation on the sale of fireworks is controlled by Westminster, while laws concerning their unlicensed use in public are devolved to Edinburgh.
SSPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “Because the current legislation is so relaxed, fireworks can be set off on any given day and for weeks and months on end rather than being limited to the major festival periods. This leaves pet owners and farmers unable to make adequate provisions for their animals.
“We’ve been made aware of numerous incidents over the years where animals have come to serious harm and even death as a result of fireworks being set off near them.”
Mr Flynn continued: “The current legal noise limit for a firework is 120 decibels and we think this is too high. To put this into perspective, a pneumatic drill measures around 100 decibels and people are advised to wear ear protectors when exposed to anything above 80 decibels.
“Animals have heightened senses and their hearing is much stronger than ours. A dog’s hearing is twice as sensitive as a human’s and a cat’s three times. The bang from a firework is terrifying to an animal and can cause extreme distress.”
• You can view an SSPCA template letter for people to write to their parliamentarians in support of restricting the current fireworks laws at www.scottishspca.org/fireworks.