Puppy ‘dies from heart attack’ during fireworks display

Owner urges public to back petition calling for review of law after death of 18-week-old dog

Tom Barnes
Monday 04 November 2019 16:05 GMT
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Thousands of people have signed petitions calling for extra restrictions on fireworks - in part due to their affect on animals
Thousands of people have signed petitions calling for extra restrictions on fireworks - in part due to their affect on animals

A puppy has died from a heart attack after becoming terrified by the sound of fireworks, the dog’s owner says.

The terrier, named Molly, was just 18 weeks olds when she died in South Yorkshire on Saturday, apparently as a result of loud display nearby.

Writing on local Facebook group Wombwell Wise, the dog’s owner, Susan Paterson, issued a warning that has since been shared more than 60,000 times on the social media platform.

“Due to the enormous amount of fireworks with loud bangs going off around Wombwell and lower Darfield last night, we lost a young terrier with a heart attack,” she said.

“Please think of the animals. Molly was only 18 weeks old and died of fright caused by fireworks.”

Susan Paterson said her dog Molly had died as a result of firework noise

Ms Paterson urged the public to sign a petition, calling for a review of rules surrounding fireworks.

The petition, which has amassed almost 500,000 signatures, urges the government to restrict private use of fireworks to “traditional” events such as Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali, while also reducing the maximum permitted decibels of pyrotechnics.

“Fireworks can cause serious distress to animals,” wrote Julie Doorne, who started the petition.

“They don’t only suffer psychologically, but also physically as many attempt to run away from, or hide from, the bangs.

“With extreme noise levels and people being able to let off fireworks any time of year, it’s difficult for those who care for animals to be able to put measures in place to protect their animals.”

A separate petition on the government’s official website, calling for a ban on the general sale of fireworks to the public, has attracted almost 170,000 signatures.

An RSPCA spokesperson told The Independent it would be difficult to establish whether Molly had died as a direct result of firework noise without a post-mortem.

However, the animal welfare charity said it was possible for significant stress or fear to impact on a dog’s health or trigger an underlying health problem.

The RSPCA has received more than 2,200 calls about firework-related incidents since 2014, including 411 reports in the last year alone.

A survey carried out by the organisation found 62 per cent of dog owners and 54 per cent of cat owners said their pet showed signs of distress during firework season.

The charity is also calling for public sale of fireworks to be limited to specific dates and for limits to be placed on noise levels.

Claire McParland, from the RSPCA, said: “We see the impact of fireworks on animals every year and we know there is strong public feeling about the use of fireworks with more than 100,000 people signing petitions to restrict their use in recent years.

“We are urging the UK government to act on this strength of feeling – which would support owners to help their animals cope at this time of year.”

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