Dog collapses in fear as experts warn of more firework trauma than normal

The RSPCA has warned Bonfire Night could be 'the worst in decades for animals'.
The RSPCA is concerned that animals will face trauma this year as more people throw make-shift displays during the pandemic (Picture: RSPCA)
A dog was so traumatised by fireworks she collapsed in shock and injured herself, her owner revealed as the RSPCA warns this year’s Bonfire Night could be the worst in decades for animals. Pet owner Julie Lumley-Pistor, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, said it took her ‘usually happy’ Staffie Ava two hours to calm down, after she started hyperventilating in fear at the sound of a display. Julie had gone out with her husband for dinner at a friend’s one evening in August at about 7pm, leaving their two dogs at home.

Around an hour-and-a-half after they left, a neighbour let off ‘extremely loud fireworks’ to celebrate a birthday.

Julie said: ‘When our daughter returned home at around 9.15pm she found Ava collapsed on the bed, hyperventilating and surrounded by splatters of blood.

‘We returned home right away and spent almost two hours calming her down and getting her breathing back to normal.

The RSPCA fears this fireworks season could be the worst in decades for animals as more people opt for DIY displays at home due to Covid restrictions cancelling organised public events. RSPCA polling* has revealed that 21% of UK adults plan to hold a private display at home this year and with 20% who plan to attend a private display at a friend???s or family???s home. This is nearly twice as many as in 2019 (11% and 12% respectively). Every year, the RSPCA receives hundreds of calls about fireworks affecting animals. Over the last four years, the animal welfare charity has received 1,543 calls about fireworks. And our poll found 21% of UK adults reported owning, knowing or having heard about an animal that had tragically died as a result of fireworks. This is why, in 2019, the charity launched its #BangOutOfOrder campaign calling for tighter controls and regulations around the sale and use of fireworks in a bid to help people and animals who suffer with fireworks phobias and noise aversion. The campaign is calling for: The restriction of the private use of fireworks to agreed traditional dates (November 5, New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali); The maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale to be reduced to 90 decibels. The current allowed level, 120 decibels (equivalent to a jet aircraft taking off) should only be used at licensed public displays; All public fireworks displays should be licensed by the relevant licensing authority and information about the proposed display must be provided in the local area several weeks in advance with a process for local residents to appeal against the granting of the licence. This process should also apply to people seeking to hold private displays at special events such as weddings; We would also like to see fireworks labelled as 'loud' or 'low noise' to allow consumers to make an informed decision if they do buy fireworks. The RSPCA found 85% of UK adults think public firewor
Ava the Staffie was so distressed by a neighbour’s firework display she collapsed in shock and cut herself (Picture: RSPCA)

‘Ava had clearly been incredibly shocked and frightened by the fireworks and, in her panic, had cut herself. It was heartbreaking to have seen her in such a state.’

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As more look to host their own home DIY firework displays this November due to Covid-19 restrictions cancelling public events, the RSPCA has warned this Bonfire Night could be more traumatic than usual for animals.

Every year, hundreds of calls are made to the animal welfare charity about fireworks affecting animals – amounting to 1,543 over the last four – and this year is expected to be no different.

A poll found 21% of UK adults reported owning, knowing or hearing about an animal that had tragically died as a result of fireworks, the RSPCA said, as it called on the Government to introduce tighter regulations on the sale of fireworks.

The charity is urging people to be considerate of neighbours with animals and warn them of plans in advance.

The RSPCA fears this fireworks season could be the worst in decades for animals as more people opt for DIY displays at home due to Covid restrictions cancelling organised public events. RSPCA polling* has revealed that 21% of UK adults plan to hold a private display at home this year and with 20% who plan to attend a private display at a friend???s or family???s home. This is nearly twice as many as in 2019 (11% and 12% respectively). Every year, the RSPCA receives hundreds of calls about fireworks affecting animals. Over the last four years, the animal welfare charity has received 1,543 calls about fireworks. And our poll found 21% of UK adults reported owning, knowing or having heard about an animal that had tragically died as a result of fireworks. This is why, in 2019, the charity launched its #BangOutOfOrder campaign calling for tighter controls and regulations around the sale and use of fireworks in a bid to help people and animals who suffer with fireworks phobias and noise aversion. The campaign is calling for: The restriction of the private use of fireworks to agreed traditional dates (November 5, New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali); The maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale to be reduced to 90 decibels. The current allowed level, 120 decibels (equivalent to a jet aircraft taking off) should only be used at licensed public displays; All public fireworks displays should be licensed by the relevant licensing authority and information about the proposed display must be provided in the local area several weeks in advance with a process for local residents to appeal against the granting of the licence. This process should also apply to people seeking to hold private displays at special events such as weddings; We would also like to see fireworks labelled as 'loud' or 'low noise' to allow consumers to make an informed decision if they do buy fireworks. The RSPCA found 85% of UK adults think public firewor
Ava is usually a ‘happy dog’ her owners said, but she is traumatised by fireworks (Picture: RSPCA)
Animal welfare expert Dr Mark Kennedy said he understands the public enjoy celebrating Bonfire Night with fireworks and they ‘don’t want to spoil the fun’, but urged residents to be considerate of animals.

He added: ‘Unfortunately, lockdown measures this year mean that very few organised, public displays are likely to go ahead and we suspect this means lots of families will be choosing to have their own displays at home.

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‘Due to the Rule of Six and the restrictions on households mixing, we fear that there will be lots of little displays taking place over weeks and weeks, spreading out fireworks noise and causing prolonged distress for animals.

‘We’d urge people to be considerate and keep neighbours with animals, including those with nearby horses and other livestock, informed of plans well in advance so they can make preparations to reduce the stress to their animals.’

Dog so stressed by fireworks her 'eyes popped' and she went blind
Suzy the Labrador cross went blind after her eyes ‘popped’ out during a firework display
Last year, a pet owner told Metro.co.uk how her Labrador cross Suzy went blind after the lenses in her eyes ‘popped’ during a firework display .

Molly the 18-week-old puppy died of a heart attack after being left terrified by fireworks, leaving her owner devastated.

A horse called Harry also became so frightened by rockets going off in a field, he impaled himself trying to jump over a fence to escape.

The owner of the stables said of Harry’s injuries that she had ‘never seen anything like it’ and would take him months to recover.

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Ahead of this year’s Bonfire Night, the RSPCA has renewed its #BangOutOfOrder campaign calling for tighter control over the sale of fireworks in a bid to help animals who suffer with firework phobias.
A horse which bolted in terror after two rocket fireworks were set off over its field was nearly killed when he became impaled on a fence.
Harry the horse impaled himself on a fence last year while trying to escape fireworks (Picture: RSPCA/Mercury Press)

It is urging the Government to only allow displays that are held by relevant licensing authorities, with information provided to residents weeks in advance to prepare.

The charity wants the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale to be reduced to 90 decibels. The current level allowed is 120 – the equivalent to a jet taking off, said the RSPCA.

It is also calling for the private use of fireworks to be restricted to agreed traditional dates, such as November 5, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali.

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