With no public firework displays going ahead in Wales this year, Clwyd West MS Darren Millar is urging people to mitigate the distress fireworks cause to animals and people by not holding private displays.

For some people fireworks are a source of entertainment and enjoyment, however the RSPCA receive on average 400 calls each year relating to their use across England and Wales.

Sadly, around 62 per cent of dogs show signs of distress as a result of their loud, unpredictable bangs and bright flashes, and figures also show that they cause anguish to older and vulnerable people, particularly those living alone.

Mr Millar is therefore urging those considering holding a private display in their garden this year to think again.

He said: “I understand that we have all been through a lot this year and with public displays cancelled, people may be tempted to hold their own displays in their back gardens. However these would likely be in close proximity to residential areas which can play home to a large number of pets and wildlife.

“Amongst owners of adult dogs, more than half of dog owners in Wales report a change in their dog’s behaviour during fireworks displays, including showing signs of obvious distress, hiding, barking or crying, and even escaping. Over 70% of dog owners in Wales are worried about the possibility of more fireworks closer to home this year and how local private displays may affect their dog.

“The loud bangs also disturb and upset babies and young children, as well as causing distress to older and vulnerable people.

“Private displays also place added pressures on the police force and our already overstretched NHS.”

He added: “To those who insist on going ahead with a private display, I urge them to be considerate to neighbours, and to warn those with pets ahead of time. I would also encourage them to use fireworks carefully for both human safety and animal welfare.”

For steps that dog owners can take to mitigate the impacts that fireworks could have on their pets, please visit the Kennel Club’s website www.thekennelclub.org.uk.

Information on how to keep pets safe during the firework season can also be found on the RSPCA website www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/fireworks