Pet owners in Yorkshire dreading New Year fireworks which leave dogs and cats 'petrified'

Pet owners across the region are preparing to soothe and calm their "petrified" pets for weeks on end as New Year’s Eve sparks another period of fireworks.

The loud bangs can have an enormous impact on animals, particularly dogs, as they have sensitive hearing and are unable to understand that the noises are not a threat.

Nine-year-old Ollie is a sweet and gentle lurcher who was adopted from RSPCA York, Harrogate & District branch by Claire Welsh and her partner, Richard Wilson, in 2012. He suffers from stress-induced idiopathic head tremors triggered by fireworks and, this year, with displays going off most nights for around three weeks during bonfire season, he suffered for weeks on end.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Claire, from York, said: “He’d not had the best start in life and, despite his young age, he was already experiencing high levels of anxiety. We worked hard over a number of years with a behaviourist to help Ollie feel more at ease with the world and the people around him. He was fearful of a lot of things but he began to grow in confidence and became much less anxious.

Ollie is terrified of fireworks

“Ollie has always been sensitive to loud noises but this was something we had worked on with him in the past and was no longer a problem for him. Sadly, over the years, the fireworks have been lasting longer and longer each year, going on for months at a time. This makes it impossible to prepare for. We used to take Ollie into the countryside away from the city at these times to avoid the fireworks and to prevent any distress to him but now, with the fireworks going on for months, it’s impossible for us to plan this.

“He becomes anxious and apprehensive as soon as it starts to become dark on an evening, apprehensive about what's to come. And he’s also become more sensitive to other loud noises such as lorries passing and airplanes flying overhead. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see him reduced to this state by something that’s entirely unnecessary and avoidable; he deserves so much better than this.”

The RSPCA’s #BangOutOfOrder campaign is piling pressure on the Government to introduce tougher regulations around the sale and use of fireworks as New Year sparks another period of celebrations, leading to more stress and anxiety for animals.

Over the last four years, the charity has received 1,543 calls about fireworks affecting animals. Its #BangOutOfOrder campaign is calling for:

Ollie was adopted in 2012 and his owners have worked hard to improve his behaviour

- 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 to 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;

- Fireworks labelled as 'loud' or 'low noise' to allow consumers to make informed decisions.