Have you had enough of the torrent of bangs so far this year? I certainly have. I remember when Bonfire night used to be just that, one night. Over the last two years, I have noticed an increase in a number of fireworks not only being use on November 5th but beginning in October and going off most nights until mid-January! With fireworks being sold in the doorway of your local supermarket and the competitive prices also being placed on these too, it is clear to see why so many people are being enticed into buying, what are in essence, small explosives and putting on their own back garden show. I understand that our culture is now changing and we all seem to want to celebrate each festivity bigger and better than the year before – look how many people are now going out trick or treating, how many people start Christmas in November and how the retailers are pushing us to buy into every event- but what about the affect on others?
Out of all the feelings I have towards the use of fireworks my biggest feeling is towards the sheer lack of consideration we now seem to have for others. I have a dog, a cat and a 2 year old boy. I speak to my neighbours, they speak to Jake, they know I have a dog and some of them know me by name. Not one person has come to knock on my door and inform me they are having a firework party this week. No one has warned me so I could perhaps take my dog to a relative or make preparations. No one told me what time they would be setting their fireworks off or on what night. This year the fireworks started going off in my area on Friday 28th October, last year it was 31st October, and I have put up with loud bangs every night since. Why is it so hard to consider those who live around us? Nobody knows if someone nearby suffers from PTSD, Autism, Learning difficulties, Epilepsy (which may be triggered by sounds) or have anxiety. All of these conditions could be affected in a negative way by unexpected bangs. They also don’t know how a pet may be coping during this time. All because nobody takes the time to think… and ask.
My dog is now elderly, she will be 15 next year and the sound of fireworks have started to stress her more and more each year. Last year was the first time we had to visit a vet due to her stress. I spent £15 of my money on calming treatments that could have gone on something much more worthwhile. Not only did I have to spend this money on something I did not want, I also do not want to be sedating my old dog and why should I have to? Why should she be made to feel so petrified in her own home that she shakes beyond control? She refuses to go outside for a wee so wets on the floor, she paces up and down, desperate to find a ‘safe’ place and nothing I do can help her. We have tried the plug in’s, rescue remedy, building a den, holding her tight, putting the TV on loud, hiding under the duvet… the list goes on. At the end of the day she can only hear these humongous explosions and, to her, it is a signal that there is danger.
So how was last night for you? If you went to a large display I can assume that it was fun, beautiful and well organised. It was also most probably on at a decent hour and didn’t drag on for most of the night. I would also hope that if you did this you didn’t feel the need to then have some in your back garden?
Last night the fireworks here started around 5pm. I fed my dog and gave her the medication I bought last year. This took a couple of hours to actually take effect and, in the meantime, I was reassuring and cuddling her. Jake was quite excited by the noise and pretty lights and he enjoyed watching them from the window. As the time ticked on and we reached 7:30pm he was ready for bed… shame that so many other households didn’t stop to consider children who may have a set bedtime. We were taking him up only for him to keep coming back down until gone 9pm. Each time he came down saying it was too loud and scary in his room. I guess, as a 2 year old, seeing them in the sky is one thing but lying in your bed in a dark room and hearing these incredibly loud bangs still going off does eventually become a scary concept. He sat on the sofa and passed out around 9:30pm, 2 hours passed his bedtime (plus we’d had a very busy day out so he was shattered) and that was where he stayed until almost 11pm. Hubby was feeling ill and went up to bed earlier than me but he couldn’t get to sleep due to the noise. When I finally crept in after putting Jake in his bed, I really believed we had reached the end of the noisiest night of the year… what a fool I was eh! At 11pm my neighbours opposite let off their display, lighting up the entire street and causing us to jump out of our skin. Why? Why would they do this knowing us? Why would they not speak to us first? Why did they not think about my son who they have met? I can only put it down to pure selfishness and inconsideration. They never once stopped to think of their neighbours, the people they may be waking or distressing, they only wanted to have their fun and I guess that was all that mattered to them!
The fireworks continued in the distance until midnight or gone… I finally fell asleep. I am now sat here shattered. I am upset that yet again I have endured a traumatic evening for all my family and I am anxious because I know full well that this is not the end of it.
Last year I joined a campaign to stop random fireworks being let off in back gardens. The petition was signed by over 100,000 people who had all been affected by the misuse of fireworks. When I have sat and read some of the stories, seen images or horses who have been injured so badly that there is no future for them, heard of rabbits dying in their owner’s arms, read about an Autistic child who wets the bed every time a bang goes off, I have cried. There is a solution here and as of yet, nobody has deemed it important enough to enforce a new law. We are constantly trying to help those in need through charities yet every winter thousands of people are being made to suffer and are losing beloved pets because of others actions. Take one of the most recent stories about Shearer the Collie. His owner was walking him in the woods when a firework was let off and Shearer ran off. For weeks his owner searched, a facebook page was set up, volunteers were looking for him and logging any potential sightings. Unfortunately, in mid-October a Collie’s body was found washed up on a nearby beach… it was Shearer. A family member, a loved pet, an innocent life taken through somebody else’s stupidity.
Then how about the four little girls who, only this week, were injured by fireworks which they came across in their home and somehow exploded. How far do these injuries or fatalities have to go before somebody stands up and says enough is enough?
If today you are tired, upset, stressed, worried about the next couple of months and are picking up the rubbish left over from the fireworks being let off last night (please be very careful as some may not have completely exploded) then please take one moment out of your day and sign the petition to make a difference.
I would really appreciate your support with this campaign but if you feel strongly the other way please do not feel the need to leave your negative or abusive comments here. We are all entitled to an opinion and this is mine. I appreciate that fireworks are fun, they are pretty and I do actually enjoy them. All I want is some control over their use and sales so that more people and animals remain safe.
*Can I also add that it is illegal to let off fireworks in public areas, after midnight on bonfire night, 1 am for New year, Chinese New Year and Diwali and after 11pm on any other day of the year. If you have issues with fireworks going off into the early hours you have the right to ring 101 and report it, make sure you are given an incident number. You can also write to your MP to voice any concerns you may have.