Home » Dogs » Why I think fireworks should be licensed.

Why I think fireworks should be licensed.

This was inspired by reading The Land Rover Owner’s Wife’s post on Bonfire Night. Her piece is thoughtful (as always) and I completely agree with the sentiment of it. But it made me want to talk about how I feel about fireworks.

I don’t object to fireworks, in fact I love them. I went to a fireworks party last night as it happens. I adore sparklers (who doesn’t?!) and I don’t mind simple fireworks like the ones LROW talked about enjoying with her little ones. I don’t mind organised or planned displays. What I really object to is people letting off fireworks randomly from about two weeks before Bonfire Night. I could cope if it were one night but it seems to go on forever. My reason for this objection? Mollie.

Mollie is absolutely terrified of loud noises. She shakes, she hyperventilates, she tries to hide. Over the years I have constructed dens, used dog pheromone plug-ins and worked to figure out what makes her feel more comfortable. This year I invested in a Thundershirt which is good for anxious dogs and although I dislike drugging her, she also had a course of Zylkene, a non drowsy anti-anxiety medication. Both of these made a significant difference. I also ensured she was looked after if I was out; either by my Mum, or last night I paid for her to stay with our wonderful dog walker Michelle. She has spent a lot of time by the oven covered with towels with the light turned low. But Mollie has still spent the last two weeks in a state of permanent anxiety.

And this is not unique to Mollie. Many animals suffer in the same way and their owners dread this time of year. One farmer friend told me of a cow she owned who died of fright after fireworks were let off beside her field.

Parents are frustrated by people letting off fireworks after they’ve settled babies or young children to sleep. Older people find the unexpected bangs unsettling.

Although I would be quite happy if fireworks were banned for sale to the public like a current petition to the government (find it here), I think there is a more liberal way. Simply, I would like to see a system whereby if you want to have a firework display you apply for a license, which has to be publicised publicly (like planning applications), before you are able to purchase your fireworks. This license would detail the place and time you are permitted to set off your fireworks. That way people in the immediate area could plan; for me it would be knowing when to start Mollie’s anti-anxiety medication. This way no one would be prevented from enjoying fireworks, but it might mean they were confined to times they are expected: Diwali, Bonfire Night, New Years Eve. Then everyone might find it easier to cope.

This has been Mollie’s Bonfire Night…

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If you are in the UK and agree with the sentiment of the petition to the Government, please sign it here and write to your MP through this site. Thank you.

11 thoughts on “Why I think fireworks should be licensed.

      • That’s fine! D named her as he gave her to me as a present. But I liked the ‘ie’ spelling. πŸ™‚ actually she should have been Dolly as an homage to the wonderful Ms Parton but D said it would be too embarrassing to shout Dolly over the field, which is rubbish, but because he’d named her already it stuck. HOWEVER next time we’re having Dolly. And to rub it in I may hold out in the fullness of time for an Emmylou πŸ˜‰

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  1. Poor Mollie! I hope she’ll get less anxiety in the future or that there’ll be some form of regulation. Luckily in the Netherlands fireworks are only allowed two days in the year, so at least the stress for animals is kept at a minimum.

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  2. So sorry for poor Mollie. When my beautiful big, baby girl Dakota was alive (she was a black Lab too) she was just like Mollie with fireworks. For the most part they are regulated in New York State. What I found worked best was the anti anxiety meds, pheromes, and we would close all the windows take her and our Bichon, Sport down into the basement where we would have classical music night. I surrounded them with favorite treats, toys, blankets they loved to dig in and the music helped drown out the sound of the fireworks. It was just us and the puppies and lots of love.

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  3. Poor Mollie looks very unhappy! I do hope she has settled and re-found her zen place.

    Claire, two days ago I signed a petition here to ban the private use of fireworks. This year we had a cracker let off beside a horse who broke her leg and had to be shot. Our police force spend an entire evening dealing with idiots who throw fireworks off over bridges, inside shops, at people etc etc. Our local authorities all put on big public displays in safe venues which means the bangs and whooshes that upset our pets and other animals are over and done with inside an hour. Families, even those on very tight budgets, feel obliged to buy bags of fireworks at $75 – $140, the most expensive I was told lasted all of 15 minutes. Further most young people here don’t even know who Guy Fawkes was [my son-in-law who does know is fond of saying we celebrate a terrorist from another country]. I have heard young folk say “Are you letting off guyfawkes tonight?”

    For several years the sale of fireworks has been restricted to three days prior to the 5th. But there is no restrictions on people about where and when they let those fire works off. There can be random blasts from now til Christmas really!

    I am lucky with my two wee fellows. Orlando has always been quite stoic about the bangs and whooshes. He seems to believe me when I tell him it is ‘alright’. This was Siddy’s first bang-fest [oooh does that sound okay?] and he took his cues from Orlando and me. I turn the music up a little louder and despite the reverberations from the municipal display around our house, we all managed okay.

    It would be nice to live in a community which put the welfare of animals ahead of the random ‘freedoms’ of a small portion of the population. Good luck with your petition.

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  4. I can relate to how Mollie must feel, having a dog myself. She also dislikes fireworks pretty much. She can become very dependent for days after, so I try and take her with me for a while until she has settled again. We are fortunate to not have too many events, but also people tend to set off fireworks for days before already, and not just on the night.
    Hope she is feeling better by now. πŸ™‚

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  5. I have signed the petition – having been woken by neighbours letting off fireworks in the street at all hours, I have been feeling stressed out about it myself. How much worse it must be for pets who cannot understand what is going on I can’t imagine!

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