17th Jan, 2021

Family calls for firework sale restrictions after kitten is victim of cruel firework prank

CAT owners from Leamington are calling for a ban on firework sales to the general public after a firework was strapped to their kitten.

Despite excessive burns to his body and a missing leg, kitten Boris struggled home the morning after bonfire night.

Owner AJ Cleary set up a fund-raiser for help to afford the £1,000 operation to amputate what was left of his leg. She said putting Boris to sleep was not an option, since he not only survived the night but hobbled home after the cruel act, which is being investigated by police.

Donations have since poured in and the family received nearly ten times their target of £350. The rest of the funds will be donated to animal charities.

And the operation has seen the kitten – named after the Prime Minister since he was born on the day of the first lockdown announcement – begin to recover from the ordeal.

The family has set up a Facebook page dedicated to the kitten which has some 1,500 members. It has been swamped with hundreds of messages from well-wishers.

AJ said: “Thank you again to all who have supported my family the last few days with donations and kind words. It means the world to us all.

“He is on the mend. It’ll be a slow journey but he’ll be okay.”

The RSPCA has received some 80 calls related to firework injuries so far this season. And like that of Boris, they say there has been a number of ‘shocking deliberate attacks’ on animals as well as incidents where pets have died after being spooked by fireworks.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “On Bonfire Night itself we were made aware of two incidents – one in West Yorkshire, and one in Warwickshire – in which fireworks had been strapped to kittens before being set off. And on Friday, the burned body of a cat was found strapped to a firework in Wales.”

And the charity is expecting more incidents over the coming weeks as sales and displays continue into Diwali this weekend (14 November) before Christmas and New Year.

The RSPCA is calling for the use of fireworks to be restricted to agreed traditional dates of November 5, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali. It also wants a reduction in the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale from 120 to 90 decibels, licensing of all public displays and private displays at events such as wedding and better labelling on fireworks so consumers can make informed decisions on buying ‘low noise’ fireworks.

RSPCA animal welfare expert Dr Mark Kennedy said: “Fireworks are extremely stressful and frightening for many animals. Around 62 per cent of dogs, 55 per cent of horses and 54 per cent of cats in the UK show signs of anxiety when they hear fireworks.

“All too often we hear heartbreaking stories of animals who seriously injure themselves in a blind panic after being spooked by fireworks. Perhaps even more shockingly, we seem to be seeing more incidents reported to our inspectors of animals being deliberately targeted and injured using fireworks. Enough is enough; we need tighter controls over the sale and use of these potentially lethal explosives.”

Visit www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/fireworks to support the campaign.

Subscribe

Receive a weekly update to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter.

Reader Travel

Check out all of the latest reader travel offers to get your hands on some free gifts.

Printing

We can provide all of your printing needs at competitive rates.

Online Editions

Catch up on your local news by reading our e-editions on the Stratford Observer.