You could be fined for setting off fireworks near dogs

4 November 2021, 10:39 | Updated: 4 November 2021, 10:40

You could be fined for setting off fireworks near your pets
You could be fined for setting off fireworks near your pets. Picture: Getty Images/Alamy

Causing animals 'unnecessary suffering' is a criminal offence which could result in a hefty fine.

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With Bonfire night right around the corner, we can expect to see thousands of fireworks lighting up the skies.

But some people may not be aware that you could face a hefty fine if you set off fireworks which ‘cause unnecessary suffering to an animal’.

Under the Animal Welfare Act of 2006, courts can impose an unlimited fine and/or hand down a five-year jail sentence.

Dogs can be left terrified by fireworks
Dogs can be left terrified by fireworks. Picture: Getty Images

You don't have to be the animal’s owner to be found guilty, but the court will have to prove you ‘knew’ or ‘ought to have known’ your actions would cause an animal to suffer.

The law doesn’t specify what ‘suffering’ consists of, but many dog owners have reported their pets ‘trembling and shaking’ in fear on November 5.

Jenna Kidd, head of canine behaviour at Dogs Trust, said: "The loud cracks and bangs of fireworks can often be a terrifying and confusing experience for them.

"Fireworks tend to be sudden, unpredictable and bright. This combination can be distressing and have a lasting impact on dogs.

There are many things you can do to help your dog on fireworks night
There are many things you can do to help your dog on fireworks night. Picture: Getty Images

"There are lots of things dog owners can do to help make fireworks less stressful for their dogs.

"Simple steps such as providing safe spaces for them to hide or settling them before the fireworks start can make a big difference.”

She added: "We would also urge anyone thinking of putting on their own fireworks display to consider the welfare of their four-legged friends and others in the neighbourhood by following our Firework Dog Code."

The RSPCA has also issued advice for pet parents, which includes walking your dog in the day, closing windows and curtains to quieten the noise, and putting on music or the television.

Meanwhile, This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes has called for fireworks to be banned completely, branding it ‘animal cruelty’.

The 61-year-old - who shares rescue pup Maggie with wife Ruth Langsford - wrote in Best magazine: "I don't know what she thinks is happening, but the bangs and flashes scare her witless. It's so distressing to watch. If you have a pet, you will share our helplessness.

"It's pure animal cruelty but nobody in charge seems to care. There's more that could be done. Restricting the dates and hours in which fireworks can be set off is one, instead of a month-long blitzkrieg.

"Nothing I or Ruth say will make a darn bit of difference but my dog, anyone's dog, cat rabbit, pony or farm animal's face or response just might. Few children will prefer a display over distress."

You can find out more about keeping your pet safe during Bonfire night on the RSPCA website.