Protect the “Aspins” and “Puspins” from firecrackers and fireworks

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PHILIPPINE based environmentalists and animal rights defenders remind the public of the traumatizing effects of firecrackers and fireworks on pets, especially cats and dogs.

The EcoWaste Coalition and the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) jointly issued the reminder during a modest Christmas program last Friday at the PAWS Animal Rehabilitation Center in Quezon City where the plight of hundreds, if not thousands, of Asong Pinoy (Aspin) and Pusang Pinoy (Puspin) in the streets were highlighted.

The two organizations said they decided to join forces to give voice to cats and dogs who lack the power to speak and defend themselves against firecrackers and fireworks. They added that the Aspins and Puspins are deeply traumatized by firecrackers and fireworks, especially when thrown at them.

Animal cruelty is a crime. We warn those who may be thinking of committing dangerous pranks on stray animals that they could end up imprisoned or heavily fined if they hurt animals,” said PAWS Executive Director Anna Cabrera.

We wanted a total ban on firecrackers not only because ear-splitting sounds from firecrackers can cause a lot of stress for dogs and cats but because of the air pollution they cause,” she said adding that “the loud noise and the smell of exploding firecrackers may result in disorientation, loss of appetite, and an upset stomach for our furry friends.”

On the other hand, EcoWaste Coalition National Coordinator Aileen Lucero said “as they (Aspins and Puspins) cannot speak for themselves, we need to speak out in defense of cats and dogs who suffer a lot from the deafening mayhem, especially on New Year’s eve.”

She also noted that noise pollution is also one of the reasons why there should be a total firecrackers ban.

The need to protect them from acoustic torture provides another reason why we should abandon the use of firecrackers,” Lucero stressed.

During the event, PAWS Education Officer Sharon Therese Bengzon-Yap offered some practical tips to help cats and dogs cope with the firecracker explosions during the New Year’s revelry.

These are:

1. Keep pets indoors, but do not chain or tie them. Please remember that it is not advisable to keep an unsupervised dog tied to a leash for long periods of time. Tethering for dogs should only be for a limited period-never 24/7 and certainly never during times when the animal could be stressed out due to loud sounds.

2. Exercise pets in the morning so they will be tired by night time and hopefully, resting or fast asleep by the time the New Year’s revelry begins.

3. Provide a safe refuge for pets like a well-ventilated room with closed windows, and ensure their access to drinking water.

4. Play a soothing music or put the TV on to neutralize the noise from the outside.

5. Put a calming wrap or anxiety vest on pets to make them feel protected and secure.

6. If possible, give stray or wandering animals temporary shelter in your yard. Do not shoo them away, give them food and water, and let them stay at least for the night.

PAWS and the EcoWaste Coalition further advised households to keep plastic bags, cleaning agents, tobacco products, alcoholic drinks and holiday treats such as chocolate, fruit cake and nuts out of the reach of pets to prevent pet poisoning incidents.

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