Cape Town - Animals welfare organisations had their hands full this past weekend as they attended to animals which had been terrified by fireworks set off by revellers celebrating New Year.
At least 19 stray animals were received by the Cape of Good Hope SPCA as they fled in terror from the loud banging noises.
SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abrahams said approximately eight calls were received, reporting animals in distress every hour between 9pm and 3am.
Abrahams said nine of the stray animals that were admitted on Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday morning had been injured. Most of them had been hit by cars, as a likely result of fleeing in panic from firework-related activities.
“Causing pain and suffering to animals is no way to start the new year. We wish we had better news but, unfortunately, an escalation in illegal firework activity resulted in a busy night for our inspectors.
“In one heartbreaking incident, a pregnant dog had to be coaxed out from underneath the bathtub of a home she had run into, desperate to find a safe place to hide,” she said.
Abrahams said four cases of cruelty were also investigated, one which involved a man who in an intoxicated state beat a small puppy with a plank.
“All these animals are now safely in our care, they are being treated, they have been fed and they are being given all the love they need to overcome the trauma caused by those who selfishly continue to disregard their well-being.
“We are grateful to those who reported incidents of animal suffering, and send you our heartfelt thanks for putting their celebrations aside and putting the welfare of animals first,” she said.
Jaque le Roux, from the Animal Welfare Society of South Africa, said while celebrations were over, they are, over the next few days, anticipating an increase of pets coming in as strays or that are injured.
“Our emergency phone was busy throughout the night and we assisted where we could. I had a small team on duty on New Year's Eve. We weren’t expecting to have to deal with an increase in calls relating to fireworks going off, with dogs and cats escaping from homes.
“The fireworks were worse this year and in areas that we least expected. We are not sure if this was related to the curfew being lifted and everyone wanting to be out having fun and celebrating, but nobody thought about the damage and effect this had on animals, including our wildlife,” he said.
Le Roux said they were still pressing ahead to get the government to ban fireworks.