Cambodian people watch fireworks during the 10th anniversary of King Norodom Sihamoni's coronation in Phnom Penh. Picture: Tang Chhin Sothy

Cape Town - Your box of fireworks is their worst nightmare, says the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, in reference to the annual Guy Fawkes celebrations which terrify most animals.

On Tuesday the SPCA urged Capetonians to consider the “terrifying effect” fireworks have on animals.

Chief executive Allan Perrins said the SPCA strongly opposed the use of any fireworks, because of the trauma and injury they caused animals.

Perrins said animals were able to hear a wider range of sounds than humans – the sound fireworks made is at least seven times louder to them.

“Their natural response is to try and flee with potential tragic consequences.”

The Animal Protection Act states that “it is illegal to terrify any animal”.

Perrins said Guy Fawkes Day had nothing to do with “our proud heritage”.

“It’s wasteful and detrimental in so many ways and while one can and should take precautions to protect one’s domestic pets and property from the hazards of fireworks, spare a thought for our wild animal neighbours.”

He said it was illegal for under-16s to use or buy fireworks, according to the Firearms and Explosives Ordinance.

“This year we will assume a zero-tolerance approach to offenders who will find themselves on the wrong side of the law should they choose to behave recklessly and act with indifference.”

Tips from the SPCA:

* Ensure all animals have identification; preferably a micro-chip or at least a collar with a name tag. This would be for reuniting lost pets with their owners.

* If possible, stay at home with your pets or keep them inside and preferably in a room that is safe and secure.

* Try to mask any noise by drawing the curtains and playing calming music.

* Put familiar and comforting things around them.

* Give your pets a nutritious and balanced meal at night – this is likely to make them sleepy.

* Give them something to chew on – a chewy bone or catnip toys for cats.

* If you suspect your pet will react badly to fireworks, then seek professional advice from your vet who may prescribe a sedative to help them cope. There are also effective homeopathic remedies available that may be bought across the counter at vet shops to help keep your pet calm.

* Cover aviaries as it is not only dogs and cats that are susceptible.

The City of Cape Town has marked eight areas for the discharging of fireworks, between 6pm till midnight:

* Bishop Lavis sports field, Lavis Drive, Bishop Lavis.

* Wesfleur sports field, Reygersdal Drive, Atlantis.

* Macassar Beach parking area, Macassar Road, Macassar.

* Swartklip Sports Complex, corner of Spine and Swartklip roads, Mitchells Plain.

* Maidens Cove parking area, Victoria Road, Camps Bay.

* Athlone Stadium parking area (eastern side), Klipfontein Road, Athlone.

* Strandfontein Pavilion, Strandfontein.

* Beachfront opposite the Tourism Centre, Table View.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said the city’s enforcement agencies would be patrolling hot spot areas.

“Officers will be patrolling in and around the designated fireworks detonation sites, as well as public transport interchanges and schools.”’

He said last year authorities dispersed a mob of about 100 young people at the Town Centre in Mitchells Plain.

“Officers encountered numerous mobs of youths who were intent on creating mayhem, targeting innocent people in the process. We’ve also found that gangs use the prevailing chaos to intensify their illegal activities.”

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Cape Argus