Fireworks and pets

| 29/06/2011

Last night, once again out of nowhere, a vast amount of fireworks were ignited close to the downtown harbour without any publication or warning, which is becoming more and more despicable each time this happens. The result was, once again, since we live near the harbour, that our 6 dogs and 4 cats, not being prepared at all for this event, completely freaked out, as well as my wife, who is a stage 3 heart patient (and no, she does not mind that I referred to the animals first).

If expected, we drug the animals and yes, believe it or not, my wife as well, with Valium so they can all survive these unexpected terror attacks from people that have no regard for anything else, it seems, other then their bottom line. It is unbelievable that in these times of economic hardship that there appear to be individuals that have more money then brains. Just about every charitable organization is suffering to the max to make ends meet and here we have such a total waste of funds that could have been much better spent than literally burning it up like this.

Many countries around the world have bans in place for exactly the aforementioned reasons, apart from the typical publicly announced events such as New Year's Eve. Many elderly have suffered heart attacks, many animals have gotten lost never to be found again or severely injured by passing cars, the animals being completely out of control. We read stories each and every time after fireworks that a number of animals, usually dogs, are breaking out of their enclosures doing harm first of all to themselves and quite often to humans as well, either because they are attempting to control them or when the animals crash into cars and what not.

My bottom line: This is not only because of my family but all those who suffer in a similar fashion but may be reluctant to voice their opinions to the general public in order to create some added awareness about the risks and consequences of, I dare say, unauthorized use of fireworks.

On a final note, my wife and I actually do, I would not say enjoy, but at least look at the show during Pirates Week. We actually have no escape from it either way we look at it, but at least during those times we are forewarned and able to drug the animals so they don't have to suffer heart attacks as well.

Finally, in case someone wonders, no, this is not the same as with bad weather like thunderstorms; animals don't like that either, I'm sure, but that is a natural event, usually preceded by rain, which functions a bit as a warning of what is yet to come. As a result they react quite differently and sit quietly in a corner or just snuggle up on us.

I hope the operators of heavy fireworks have the decency to properly publish their upcoming events in papers and radio stations for the benefit of many.

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (21)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    I too love to watch the fireworks.

  2. Joe B says:

    Sadly anyone with a love of animals and people in general will find it hard in a country like Cayman.  The past has not been kind to the people here and many are still in survival mode.  Very few in a leadership role show the ability to be kind toward anyone not directly related to their own interest.  Your life and how you choose to live it show you as one of the many kind and loving persons living here.  Hopefully those that have contact with you will see that there is another way to see the world we all live in.  All the best and keep fighting the good fight.

  3. The Firework Code. says:

    I agree that there should be restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks for the  following reasons:

    Last Christmas I had some very inconsiderate neighbours letting fireworks  off at 3am in the morning.This didn't happen once but on several occasions over the holidays.

     I witnessed a young boy holding a lit rocket in his hand whilst his father watched. There seems to be no safety advice and no age restrictions on the purchase of fireworks in Cayman. I also know of several people who have been injured whilst using fireworks.

    With the surge in gun crimes i would have expected the RCIP to encourage the restictive use of fireworks.  The sound of gunshots often get mistaken for fireworks and vice versa. If the Police catch the criminals involved in a gun crime they swab their hands for gunshot residue. If found positive for residue the Police should have a strong case that a firearm was discharge .However if the criminal  then argues that he had been handling fireworks ( same gunshot powder used to make them) the Police will not be able to use evidence.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was just wondering how do you prepare your animals for a fireworks display?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I HATE fireworks having almost lost my eyesight several years ago by a mere spark!I have a canine baby and we have lots of canine friends and family who are deathly afraid of them.Fireworks can be deadly if not handled in the right way. Thank God for central airconditioning and a radio.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I feel there should definitely be some form of restrictions on the retail selling of fireworks. On New Years Eve we ended up having to watch out for kids setting off fire works all the way down the street. A few of the fire works landed in our yard, one landed on the next door neighbour's roof and we witnessed these lads put another into a garbage can and set the contents on fire. Fireworks are beautiful to watch, but when you see the dogs brought into the vet after they have ripped off all their claws and paw pads in a frantic bid to escape the noise, and you see what these youngsters get up to……..I now make a point of not going to these shows.

  7. Woof, woof says:

    My dog loves fireworks?

    • Anonymous says:

      Strangely so does mine. He will quite happily sit and watch the fireworks without a care in the world. I often have to stop him running towards the fireworks to see what it is!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Drugging the dogs is NOT an answer to the problem. Training them as earlier suggested is the way to go.

  9. Vee says:

    Interesting. Do dogs bark? Have they been outside and ever barked? Maybe your neighbor was disturbed by this unwanted noise. They are also entitled to peace and quiet.


    You live within the town limits and you have 10 animals. It would be a shame if someone proposed a number restriction on the number of pets you could keep within the town limits. This number should require a permit application because it is within the town limits. This is common in other places.

    A link between fireworks and heart attacks . I am sure this is not supported but scientific evidence.

    You drugged your animals. Are you qualified? Is it okay to drug unruly children?


    My point is there are two sides to ever issue.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So this is what has happened to my dog who has gone missing?

    This practice needs to stop!!!!

  11. Gwen Madigan says:

    I volunteer for the Cayman Islands Humane Society (I am not a Board member) and I am very aware that the intake of animals always increases right after fireworks displays. This is a sad reality but a very real one for the shelter. My own dogs completely freaked out during this short display of fireworks the other night and December is just a nightmare with Christmas fireworks displays and New Years displays.

    I used to really enjoy fireworks but since seeing how it terrifies my own animals I am no longer fond of spontaneous displays of fireworks or planned for that matter – although I appreciate David Kirkaldy's suggestion to contact him and he will forewarn in future so I know and so I may in turn forewarn other animals lovers then we can all take precautions if we so wish. This will at least give us some warning. I realise some people will think we are trying to spoil people's fun but these displays won't stop because of our comments but maybe just maybe it will heighten the fact that it has some negative impact on some people and lots of the Islands animals and that for me will make my comments worthwhile.

  12. Just Commentin' says:

    It is natural for an animal to be initially startled at an unexpected loud noise. The animal may jump and might cower or seek a secure-feeling place to hide from the perceived threat. But for an animal to completely freak out is not normal in the least. If this is really the source of stress to the animals you say it is, I would think that the responsible thing to do would be to condition the animals not to completely freak out when a big bang comes along.

    Dogs and cats can be conditioned to not to "completely freak out" at loud noises. I trained manydogs in my lifetime, including several we used for hunting; animals can be conditioned not to freak out around loud noises. All my animals were used to guns going off at odd times when I lived in the "country" abroad – chickens, horses, cats, birds. When a loud noise came along you'd hear some squawking, barking and the like, but all of them did not freak out.

    Proper behaviour modification seems to me to be safer and more natural than drugging the poor animals into stupor. According to my experience in raising and training animals, I am of the opinion that if all ten of your animals completely freak out over a fireworks display their behaviour problem may have its root in they way they were raised.

    If your animals were placed in my care for two weeks, at the end of the fortnight, they will twitch or maybe jump when fireworks go off, but they will settle right back down to whatever they were doing.


    • Survivor says:

      I understand what you're saying, however I have to point out that dogs, perhaps, can accept behavioural conditioning regarding fireworks, but cats?   C'mon.   Cats are more primal creatures, even those born in captivity.    Cats go to ground when threatened, much as that personally irritates me;   I expect my pets to come to ME when there is a threat, but cats don't see itthat way.  

      That said, I also know from personal experience that a short setting off of fireworks doesn't usually completely freak out my pets or my friends' pets.  Yes, a prolonged (meaning, say, 10 minutes or more) fireworks event can definately cause havok with pets.  

      Incidentally, there are several compounds available to medicate pets, if there is advance warning, even some homeopathic tablets that have worked with our pets.   I don't need a license to infrequently  medicate my pets.  

      I don't know what the answer is.    Fireworks are one of those things that people do and enjoy in the worst of times.   It would be nice if there were just a sense of responsibility and respect with those that use them.    I like setting off fireworks myself.    I don't do so late at night, except for perhaps New Year's.    I am careful, and mindful of the wind, particularly with rockets, and always point them upwind and out to sea.   

      Maybe having brought this up, we will all think about it, and change our way of doing things just a little bit.    That seems the best of things and the best use of forums such as this — to affect chance from within, in a manner in which the most of us can agree.  


  13. David Kirkaldy says:

    It was my company Fireworks Limited that produced the fireworks show described by the original writer.  We produce many of the the commercial displays held on the island under the requisite company and trade licences. 

    I am really sorry that the writer had a negative experience related to the sound generated during the display.  We comply with all regulations.  The show had a Cayman Islands Fire Department permit and a permit from the Civil Aviation Authority, as did our show on Saturday June 25, and our upcoming show at Camana Bay on July 4. 

    There is no requirement to publish the time or place of a show currently thru any formal means, and I would humbly suggest that this would add cost to a client and ruin the suprise for local clients particularly who often plan fireworks as a suprise highlight in a wedding or significant corporate event.

    There are no 'out of holiday' stipulations on commercial display's either, and we work with our clients to be responsible corporate citizens and guide them to having shows earlier when it is not a 'holiday' period.  In this case the show was 4.5 minuites long at approximately 9.15pm.  We will not do a show after 10pm on a 'school night' and we work with clients to incorporate shows earlier in their entertainment programme.

    We understand the challenges you and others face, though, with regard to sound and its shock effect on loved ones, and pets, and the inconvenience of children waking up.  I am a dad with young kids, and the owner of a dog that goes mad at the sound of fireworks. 

    I would use this medium to encourage anyone that may wish to be informed of a show in advance in order to prepare kids, pets or loved ones for the sound (or just want to come out and see a beautiful show), to please email me on with your email address and the location where you live and we will endevour to circulate an email notification of shows to you.

    The commercial displays that we shoot are not related to the application of common sense in the use of retail fireworks that one of the comments following the original writer noted.  No amount of regulation will counter stupidity unfortunately.  This issue, however, is unrelated to the commercial displays.  The issue of confusing gunshots for fireworks as noted by another comment may be related more to retail fireworks as it would be very hard to mistake a continued 4+ minute commercial show with a shooting.

    Again, I extend my personal apology to the original writer and to anyone else that may have similar experience and encourage them to drop me an email asking to be notified and we will work to keep good and cordial relations with our neighbours.

    • Anonymous says:

      I LOVE fireworks and have always loved that Cayman has so many occassions to have a show! It's been like that for as long as I can remember. I am always disappointed to not know in advance so that I can be somewhere to get a good view.

      So, thanks for the email address! I want to be on that list!




  14. Ingca says:

    I was sad to read this letter.. and saddened further to see the first response was so negative.  Sure… everyone should be entitled to their say, but this shows the downside of CNS responses… negative and backbiting more often then not.

    I 'rescued' a puppy here and we now have a gentle, loyal and loving family pet.  I was walking her one evening in my own neighbourhood, and our route took us past a garden where a man and 2 very young children were enjoying some fireworks.  I announced I'd like to pass, and he indicated that he'd wait for me to go by.  I had barely past his own garden boundaries when a  rocket came hurtling past my ear and landed on the road just ahead… frightening both me and my dog considerably.    I hope this was really just an accident on his part, and luckily no-one was injured.  My poor dog was frightened to walk past that garden for quite some time after the event.  

    Fireworks are not toys, and anyone using them should have more than a small dose of common-sense or at the very least, common courtesy.  

    Unfortunatly common-sense is far from common! 

  15. Anonymous says:

    There are other countries which have laws on fireworks. A) as to when they can be sold (very limited days prior to holidays, such as New Years Eve) b) to whom they can be sold (e.g. not to under aged youngsters) c) where they can besold (not on every street corner) and d) when they can be used (only within 2 days before & after the holiday). These laws help to avoid accidents amongst especially younger users as well as due to only licensed sellers, avoiding cheaper and less safer gadgets. And this would also address the commenters issues, people would be prepared as to when the fireworks are allowed to be used, as it could also be mistaken with gun fire or vice versa.

    Even if above is a bit strict, it can be quite annoying listening to fireworks day after day at any time of the day & night. And that has nothing to do with living in GT vs the eastern districts (living in the east myself)

    I can only say, be careful when using it and pet owners, keep your pets in secure places until the holidays are over and be prepared for the noise…

  16. Jumbles says:

    Maybe you should move house then.  East End does not get much firework action.  Why should we all suffer because you live in a menagerie?

    • Anonymous says:

      Most civil societies which operate under rule of law allow people the right to quiet enjoyment.  Just like it is illegal to trespass on someone elses property or dump or pollute their property, unreasonable noise is no different.  Nobody should have to endure someone elses noise pollution.  Several years ago I almost ended up in a street brawl with the punks who were renting the house next door when they decided to light off hundreds of firecrackers next to my house (they were on their property) at 3:30 AM on Christmas Eve.  Having no respect or considerationfor anyone but yourself is an excellent way for civil societies to become un-civil real quick.  This is especially true when the police seem very unwilling to do anything about it as is the case with our local superstars at the RCIP.  People can only be pushed so far before they snap.

    • noname says:

      For the same reason we all suffer fools like you.