Now that Halloween is over, many animal owners are already bracing themselves for the next big one: New Year’s Eve.
The two winter celebrations are the most likely times of the year, outside of Canada Day, when people let off fireworks.
By far, Halloween has historically been the most problematic, with many people not waiting for the big night and instead setting fireworks and firecrackers off for weeks before and after Oct. 31.
So what’s wrong with that, you may ask?
There’s a good reason they are banned for both sale and use in the Cowichan Valley with the exception of those who get a permit from the local government for a specific time and place.
They can be dangerous in a number of ways, but they are particularly dicey around animals.
The sudden light and shattering noise they produce can seriously spook pets and livestock.
Imagine a cat or dog outdoors doing their business when a firecracker is suddenly thrown close by.
If they are initially unhurt by the irresponsible thrower, unsurprisingly, their instinct is to run — as far and as fast as they can.
It’s easy to imagine the terrible scenarios that can arise after that, and the grief and fear it can cause for the families that love these furry members of the clan.
Livestock, like goats, sheep, horses and cattle are another thing again.
These animals can also be terribly spooked by fireworks set off too close to their enclosures.
With no way to truly get away, these animals can badly injure themselves or others in their terror.
Yes, fireworks can be great fun. We love to watch a good show, planned and set off by somebody who knows what they’re doing.
But if you live near someone that you know has animals that are going to find your fireworks one of the worst experiences of their lives, try to show some compassion. If you cannot get far enough away to mitigate their fright, perhaps consider attending a public show instead. Your neighbour will thank you.