It's That Dreaded Time of Year Again! Keep Your Horses, Pets and Livestock Safe This Fireworks Period.
Very sadly a couple of years ago I had to have one of my horses PTS due to fireworks, an accident that was totally preventable had my immediate neighbours had the courtesy to inform me that they would be having a fireworks party! I thought I had done everything possible in leaflet dropping to every house in the village, putting adverts in the local village shop and parish newsletter, knocking on the doors of all my near neighbours just merely asking to be informed at least a day in advance of anyone having a fireworks party so that I could take all necessary measures to protect my animals. However, it would appear that people will be people and either out of sheer ignorance or a "Don't care attitude" I wasn't to be informed on this occasion. Unfortunately my story is not a unique one with accidents caused by fireworks and not just the misuse of them appearing to be on the increase. After the loss of my very special boy I started looking into the legislation surrounding fireworks near livestock and domesticated animals, even speaking with our regional police force to the rights of owners. Thames Valley Police were incredibly helpful and the officer I spoke with was very distressed to hear my story and looked into the legislation for me. The legislation currently in place is as follows:
"Under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animals. The penalty on conviction is either imprisonment up to 51 weeks or a fine of up to £20,000 or both. Enforcement of this section of the Act rests with Trading Standards, the Police or the RSPCA as appropriate."
Thames Valley Police also told me to call them immediately on 101 if any of my neighbours were causing distress to my animals with fireworks and they would attend ASAP. However, they did go on to state that obviously they couldn't act before any distress was caused. Not ideal as an awful accident may have happened before the Constabulary are able to put a stop to the fireworks perpetrators but I for one will push for a prosecution if this was ever to happen to an animal in my care again.
Here's hoping for an accident and firework free year for you, your horses, livestock and pets!