The National Council of SPCAs is issuing an appeal to everyone with regard to fireworks over the forthcoming Diwali and Guy Fawkes period.
The appeal is for restraint. Diwali is the Festival of Light and its beauty is inherent. Loud bangs form no part of it. Guy Fawkes has no relevance to South Africa and it is questioned why it is "celebrated" at all.
Laws relating to the use of fireworks are watertight with the Explosives Act covering the sale of fireworks and the discharge of fireworks in public places. With regard to discharging fireworks on private property, this falls under local by-laws which vary. In some Municipalities, permits are required, in other areas there is dispensation for Diwali between specified times.
It is illegal to sell fireworks in the open air.
Concerns relate to the safety and welfare of animals. Anyone with an animal is requested to be responsible and to ensure the animal's safety and comfort. The hearing of animals is far more acute and sensitive than the hearing of a human. If a dog can hear a grasshopper eat, imagine what a firework sounds like.
Stay with your pets. Keep them indoors. If an animal is sensitive by nature, then consult your veterinarian for advice. Do not give medication intended for humans to animals and above all, ensure that animals are not in danger of harming themselves if they bolt – even indoors - or react when a firework is discharged in the area. Despite regulations and appeals for calm, this can occur.
This opportunity is taken to ask everyone to ensure that animals have identification.
Hooligan, dangerous and illegal behaviour relating to fireworks needs to be reported to the South African Police Service, giving full details, or to the Metro Police if they enforce by-laws in that specific area.
On behalf of the SPCA movement in South Africa, we extend good wishes to everyone celebrating Diwali and we trust that this year, the celebrations will be in accordance with the true spirit of the Festival of Light: - beauty, light, love and above all, compassion.