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Petition to ban fireworks launched

This past New Year’s Eve was described by animal rights organisations in Worcester as one of the worst ever for animals, many injured or killed after being scared off by fireworks.

“Fireworks were set off in areas such as Roodewal, Riverview, Avianpark and even one next to the N1, close to Panorama over New Year’s Eve,” said Lindi Erasmus of an animal welfare organisation in Worcester. “This had a big impact on animals that were scared and tried to escape from their owner’s houses and yards.”

Standard considered publishing some of the photos taken of the injured animals, but decided against it owing to their extreme graphic nature.

Erasmus said she started a petition to ban fireworks in her personal capacity in the hope that everyone in Worcester would play their part in a total, permanent ban.

“While trying to escape the fireworks animals either ran in front of oncoming vehicles or ripped their skin off trying to squeeze through a small fence,” she said. “A Rottweiler had to be euthanised after it tore off its leg muscles trying to escape through barbed wires. These are just some of the cases.”

Humans also had a further hand in the carnage as firecrackers were tied to cats’ tails and pushed into dogs’ anuses, and then set alight.

“The animals that arrived at the various shelters with these injuries had to be euthanised as the damage done was irreparable.”

A baby eagle in Johnsons Park also had to be euthanised after fireworks had been tied to its feathers and set alight. “When the eagle arrived at Animal Welfare it had to be put to death,” Erasmus said. “Its wings were blown off and there was no way to save the animal.”

The petition was started because Worcester wants to see more pro-active action from the Breede Valley Municipality (BVM) regarding fireworks.

“We want the BVM to apply the legislation around explosives so that it can be totally banned in our town,” Erasmus added. “Action should be taken so that so many animals shouldn’t have to die gruesome deaths or become injured or lost. We want the BVM and all the animal organisations in the area and the surrounding community to get on board so the bloodbath can be stopped in the future.

“We have also sent around petition forms and many people have signed the petition. Our online petition currently has 2 100 signatures. I want to thank everyone who has participated in the petition. We will use the petition to state our case to the BVM so that they can see how serious this issue is.”

Breede Valley Executive Mayor Antoinette Steyn promised to carry a motion about this petition at the next council meeting.

“We will support this petition and we will try to get the public to support also,” she concluded. “During this motion we will look at changing the current selling and use of fireworks by-law.”

. People who are interested in signing the petition can go to the following link: www.change.org/p/breedevalley-munisipality-worcester-action-against-fireworks.

What does the law say?
The municipality is authorised to identify areas where fireworks may be set off.
. No person, other than the manufacturer or permit holder, may sell or trade in fireworks, unless he/she is licensed to do so under the law.
. No fireworks may be set off within a distance of 200 m from any hospital, clinic, petrol station, old age home or animal welfare organisation.
. No-one under the age of 16 is permitted to buy fireworks or set them off.
. It is against the law for any person to point a firework in the direction of another person, animal, business or vehicle.
. No person or organisation is permitted to hold a firework display without the consent of the council, with at least 14 day notice beforehand. A pyrotechnician and an expert in explosives of SAPS must be on the premises when the fireworks are set off.
.Fireworks may not be set off in any public areas. This includes parks, sidewalks and roads. It also includes restaurants, malls, liquor stores and retail shops.
. Fireworks may not be bought from street vendors or at any open air facilities.
Call 10111 when you see someone contravening these laws. 

Meer oor:  Worcester  |  Fireworks
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