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Keep your pets safe and happy this Guy Fawkes

Published: 29 October 2020

Love or hate them, fireworks will soon be available for sale which means a busy time ahead for Auckland Council’s dedicated Animal Management team.

“It’s the time of the year when dog owners need to take extra care of their pets as we approach Guy Fawkes,” Animal Management Manager Sarah Anderson said.

Sarah said the days surrounding Guy Fawkes Night, 5 November, Animal Management Officers were busy picking up roaming pets.

“In previous years, the council’s shelters have been kept busy around Guy Fawkes season as a result of the number of dogs that have been picked up throughout the night.”

In Aotearoa there are strict rules around buying and selling fireworks. Fireworks are only sold for the four days leading up to Guy Fawkes (2 to 5 November 2020).  You must be 18 years old and have valid ID to buy fireworks.

Fireworks can still be let off on private property, but they are banned in public places (such as parks and beaches) across the whole of Tāmaki Makaurau.

Auckland Council's Regulatory Committee chair and Waitakere Ward Councillor Linda Cooper says pets are like members of our family.

“It’s really hard to see them distressed during Guy Fawkes when people are still legally allowed to buy and let off fireworks in their backyard,” she said.

Clr Cooper said Auckland Council lobbied the Government last year to ban the sale and use of private fireworks, “but had no luck”.

“If you are against the sale of fireworks, then let your local MP know what you think.”

Sarah’s advice to pet owners was to keep them inside or safely confined.

“Ensure your dog registration is current and your dog is microchipped as this will assist in your dog being reunited with you as quickly as possible if it strays.

“Keep windows and doors closed to minimise the noise and light flashes and close the curtains. Taking your dog out for a walk (and toilet stop) well before the fireworks start is a good way to tire your dog out.

“Remember your pets need your reassurance, and if you cannot stay home with them, ensure they are safe and very well confined.”

Safety first sees vehicle access limited over Guy Fawkes

Vehicle access to Muriwai Beach will once again be limited after hours at the beginning of November to mid- November due to potential fire risks around Guy Fawkes.

Stephen Bell, Auckland Council’s Principal Ranger, advised that the decision to limit overnight vehicle access to the beach was one of safety.

“Auckland is still very dry thanks to this year’s drought and a lack of rain. After the success of last year, we are again limiting vehicle access to minimise the risk of fire from fireworks.”

Rodney Local Board Chairperson Phelan Pirrie agrees.

“We want to ensure our amazing natural assets are protected when we are still in the middle of a drought.

“That means closing the beach vehcile access, but also reminding everyone that lighting fireworks are banned from all parks – both local and regional.”

Stephen highlighted that fires on two maunga on the Auckland isthmus, and a fire near the gannet colony at the south end of Muriwai shows that the fire risk at over the Guy Fawkes period is high.

The after-hours closure to vehicle access coincides with the period that fireworks are on sale and includes the weekends either side of Guy Fawkes night.

The gate on Coast Road and will be closed on the evenings of Guy Fawkes week – Monday 2nd November through to Sunday 8th November between the hours of 10pm and 5am.

The decision to limit access to the beach over Guy Fawkes comes at the same time as the Tūpuna Maunga Authority closes public access to fourteen maunga across Tāmaki Makaurau.

Phelan urges people to be responsible and thoughtful.

“If you are going to set off fireworks, please keep it in your own backyard and stay safe.”

Be safe not sorry

Always take care when using fireworks and do not use them on dry or windy days, or close to flammable vegetation.

If you are considering having a bonfire in a rural area, you need to ensure that the fire is lit during daylight hours and settled for nightfall and that you use dry and brown vegetation to limit the smoke nuisance.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand advises visiting their website for restrictions and fire safety advice.

Call the council on 09 301 0101 (24 hours, seven days a week) to report something that is causing an immediate risk to the safety of a person, people or property.

For more information on the use of fireworks in Auckland visit aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

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