Valentine Stirling-Court, Jemma Mitchell and Sammy Stirling-Court hold up posters indicating that fireworks can be distressful to animals. Picture: Steven Naidoo

Cape Town - We are three weeks away from Guy Fawkes, easily the most annoying and worrisome day for pet owners. More immediately, Diwali celebrations on Thursday also threaten to upset the animals of the Mother City.

Animal protection groups say these events often lead to the unnecessary torment and injury of pets. The City of Cape Town has released its list of 12 designated sites for discharging fireworks.

The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) and the Cape of Good Hope SPCA believe Guy Fawkes has no connection to South Africa, but is celebrated to the detriment of animals.

The PDSA’s Sandy Okkers said they believe the marking of Guy Fawkes day, observed on November 5, should be banned.

“The PDSA is against the unregulated sale of fireworks of any kind. While the city promotes the use of designated areas, many people continue to set off fireworks near their homes. This makes it difficult for pet owners to shield their animals from trauma.

“We encourage our clients to keep their animals indoors and in some cases to administer sedatives to dogs and cats that are particularly sensitive to the noise.”

The SPCA has called for “restraint, responsibility and consideration” over Guy Fawkes and Diwali.

“The Cape of Good Hope SPCA has witnessed over the past few years, that the effects of fireworks continue for weeks following usage, as many animals become so distressed at the level of noise, that they attempt to escape to a place of safety. This can lead animals to get stuck in fences or storm-water drains, become victims of motor vehicle accidents and end up wandering the streets for weeks."

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services, urged residents to only use the designated sites to discharge fireworks and said fines would be issued if they contravened bylaws.

Weekend Argus