Between Christmas Day 2020 and New Year’s 2021, the Trinidad and Tobago Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TTSPCA) in Port-of-Spain rescued eight displaced dogs from several areas across the country.
“They have been brought in as lost dogs from different areas, Trincity, Arnaguez, Glencoe, Cascade, Maraval, St James,” chairman of Council of the TTSPCA Sita Kuruvilla revealed.
According to Kuruvilla, a member of the TTSPCA since 1985, in that timeframe, they have also gotten several calls from worried owners who are trying to locate their pets and have been taking care of another four dogs displaced after Divali.
Kuruvilla knows the cause, fireworks. According to the activist the loud explosions scare these animals and they flee to safety.
“A lot of animals are lost after fireworks,” Kuruvilla said.
“Remember their hearing is 10 times our hearing so every sound is magnified,” she continued to explain.
While there Kuruvilla showed us a 6-year-old female dog, who was nursing puppies and seemed to have damaged herself while running away from the loud explosions.
A lot of the other dogs who were recently brought in were timid and the grief from missing their loved ones showed on their faces.
“It just makes them all disoriented and terrified,” she said.
Dogs hear nearly twice as many frequencies as humans and hear sounds four times further away.
“Cats are also affected, wildlife are affected, we’ve heard instances were poultry, chickens have dropped dead, so it’s quite an impact on animals generally,” she said.
It’s for these reasons the TTSPCA and others have been rallying for a complete ban to citizens using fireworks.
“We would really like to see fireworks taken out of the hands of the public because we don’t think that there is any reasonable sensible way to control fireworks if there in the hands of the public…people don’t follow the rules,” she said.
According to Chapter 11:02, Section 99 Summary Offences Act, any person who throws, casts, sets fire to, or lets off any fireworks within any town is liable to a fine of one thousand dollars.
At the TTSPCA Port-of-Spain shelter on Wednesday, Kuruvilla told Guardian Media that they submitted the relevant recommendations before a Joint Select Committee in 2017 about the impact of firework noises on animals. She said they also did a survey of veterinary clinics on injuries, reports of lost animals and of how many people requested sedatives.
Kuruvilla said the lack of control and unpredictability of firework usage in this country is one of the main issues.