By Aston Lamb
ANIMAL CHARITIES have issued a warning to keep pets and wild animals safe on bonfire night.
Blue Cross, a charity that rehomes animals, did research on the effect that this season’s celebrations have on pets.
A spokesperson from Blue Cross said: “Research by us shows a third of the nation’s cats and dogs become stressed and anxious because of trick or treaters and three quarters are afraid of fireworks. This means an overwhelming 11 million pets in the UK will be frightened during October and November.”
Claire Stallard, Blue Cross animal behaviourist added: “This fortnight can be the scariest time of the entire year for our pets. Strangers coming to the door dressed as ghouls at Halloween can be very confusing and frightening for them and many pets find the bangs and flashes of fireworks unbearably terrifying.
“In Sheffield, 80 per cent of pet owners say their pets are afraid of fireworks, which could mean it is the scariest place in the UK for pets at this time of year. In Leeds, 77 per cent said their pets are afraid of fireworks.
“Nearly 70 per cent of pets choose to go and hide when there are fireworks, so we recommend a house-check as soon as possible to make sure pets cannot squeeze into unsafe places – like behind the fridge.”
The RSPCA also urged owners to keep pets safe on bonfire night.
A spokesperson said: “Walk them during daylight hours to avoid times when fireworks are likely to be set off, close windows and curtains to muffle the sound of fireworks, put on some music or TV to mask the firework sounds, create a quiet space where your dog can feel in control, and create hiding places around your home.”
In May 2015, Blue Cross rescued two stray kittens which had taken shelter under a bonfire pile hours before it was lit.
Danielle Mason, from Blue Cross Southampton, said: “These two kittens had a really lucky escape – their mum must have thought it was a nice safe, dry spot for them. It’s a good reminder to check your bonfire for wildlife before lighting it.”
Wild animals are also at massive risk on bonfire night, particularly hedgehogs.
A spokesperson from the Wildlife Trust, a nature charity, said: “Think about hedgehogs and wildlife around bonfire time. Every year numbers of hedgehogs die or suffer injuries due to bonfire piles not being not checked before being lit.”