People are being urged not to “terrorise” vulnerable people, pets and livestock by randomly firing off fireworks across Harborough over the next few weeks.
The heartfelt appeal to people to “act calmly and considerately” is being issued by Cllr Phil Knowles – and he’s being backed by the RSPCA.
And the plea for common sense and compassion is being made as the first fireworks of the autumn have already been fired skywards in the Lubenham Hill area of Market Harborough.
Cllr Knowles told the Harborough Mail today: “This is a truly terrifying time of the year for many animals in our community – as well as for crucially vulnerable people.
“Every year far too many fireworks in our towns and villages are exploded for weeks before Guy Fawkes Day on November 5 – and sometimes for weeks afterwards too.
“That’s just not on and it’s not acceptable,” said Cllr Knowles, who leads the Liberal Democrat group on Harborough District Council.
“I totally support well-organised displays carried out in a safe controlled environment.
“They are much safer – and residents generally know when they are going to go ahead and to prepare for them.
“But what we don’t want are loud powerful fireworks being set off randomly at all hours of the night in the weeks leading up to Bonfire night.
“Nobody wants anti-social behaviour in our tight-knit communities.
“We have many built-up areas in our district – such as in the towns of Market Harborough, Lutterworth, Broughton Astley and the Kibworths,” said Cllr Knowles.
“So scarily loud fireworks ignited in our towns have a massive impact as they affect thousands of dogs, cats, other pets and people living there.
“We are also a rural district and these mini-festivals of noise and light can upset and terrify farm animals such as horses, cows and sheep as well as wildlife.
“This entire issue cannot be taken lightly – it’s very serious.
“And we have to deal with it every single autumn.
“How can you explain to your poor pet dog or cat as they shake with fear in the corner that the explosives being fired off outside won’t last for ever?
“So my message to people in Harborough is simple.
“Please go along and enjoy fireworks at properly-staged displays by all means – but don’t go letting them off willy nilly.”
Carrie Stones, the RSPCA campaigner for behaviour change, told the Mail: "Sadly, we know this time of year can be very stressful for animals.
"Approximately 62 per cent of dogs show signs of distress during fireworks - while other pets and even farm animals and wildlife can be impacted too.
"The RSPCA has long campaigned for displays to be restricted to being on or around traditional dates - so people can be prepared and take mitigating steps to help their pets feel safe.”
She added: "We're urging anyone having a fireworks display in the Harborough area to communicate with residents in their vicinity - to help pet owners prepare.
“Before the cheer, consider their fear - and help keep animals safe this time of year.
“Information from the public is so important in our campaign for more responsible use of fireworks.
“So we also encourage anyone struggling this season with the negative impact of fireworks to share their experiences via our incident reporting form."