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Message from the RSPCA

RSPCA Cymru is reminding members of the public to consider the needs of pets, and the welfare of animals, as Wales prepares to welcome in 2017.

Fireworks are a common part of New Year’s festivities – but many animals can find them deeply distressing, and RSPCA Cymru is reminding the public of the many practical steps which can be taken to help protect their welfare.

Pet owners have been urged to plan ahead, with action such as sound-proofing and the provision of safe enclosures all able to help reduce firework phobia among Wales’ companion animals.

Lisa Richards, RSPCA welfare expert, said:

“As many of us celebrate the start of 2017, the festivities can also be stressful for many animals – including our pets. Fortunately, there are a lot of straightforward steps which people can take to help keep their pets safe, and to ease their pets fear of loud noises.

“From making sure dogs and cats are indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off, to masking firework noises, and providing pets with a safe place to hide at all times, it’s so important pet owners plan ahead.

“Small animals living outside should be provided with lots of extra bedding to allow for burrowing, whilst parts of their enclosure could be covered with a blanket to provide further sound-proofing and insulation.”

Farm animals and wildlife can also be negatively affected by fireworks. RSPCA Cymru continues to urge organisers of events to avoid letting off fireworks near where animals are housed.

The charity is also reminding people as to the possible dangers of using sky lanterns, as part of any New Year celebrations. They can cause injuries to animals which lead to suffering, and even a slow, painful death.

Paul Smith, RSPCA public affairs manager added:

“Sky lanterns, commonly known as ‘Chinese lanterns’, present a significant danger to animals, and can cause injuries which lead to suffering and a slow, painful death.

“The fact a majority of Local Authorities in Wales has banned these devices on their land only highlights the danger they can pose.

“Risks to animals include ingestion, entanglement and entrapment; whilst lanterns can also cause fire, destroy habitats or damage animal housing and feed.

“Whilst sky lanterns may look pretty, people need to remember that what goes up, must come down – so, for animal’s sake, we’re urging the public to give sky lanterns a miss this New Year.”