THREE YEARS ago, Theresa Kulkarni from Kings Lynn, Norfolk, began a petition to clamp down on the retail sale of fireworks to the public, following scores of cases of firework abuse, which resulted in injuries and stress to pets and other animals. OUR DOGS was pleased to champion Theresa’s aims at the time, as firework abuse – not to mention noise levels – had got totally out of hand.
Since then, Labour MP Bill Tynan introduced a Private Members’ Bill in 2003 that attracted wide cross-party support and was backed, in large part, by the Government. The Bill was passed into law in early 2004, although many campaigners felt that the Bill as finally passed did not go far enough.
This week, Theresa, 38 is bracing herself for another noisy Bonfire Night and has already been collating a long list of incidents in which animals have been the victims of mindless attacks by yobs with fireworks, such as the death of an 11 year-old Yorkshire Terrier who was blown apart after young thugs allegedly strapped a firework to her body. So have things got better since the new laws were introduced, or have they got worse?
Here, Theresa Kulkarni tells OUR DOGS readers about her latest petition. She writes:
‘Last year we presented a petition of 92,835 signatures to 10 Downing Street calling for the total ban of sales to the public of fireworks. We asked that they be limited to licensed displays only. In that time much has happened but sadly none of it very good. As usual the Government has ignored the public and sided with industry.
‘The MP Bill Tynan's much-vaunted bill received Royal Assent in a very watered down way, totally ignoring garden fireworks despite last year’s statistics showing that they caused most of the injuries not to mention the nuisance, danger and suffering. This was clearly shown when four men in the York area were arrested for blowing up public telephone boxes, debris was thrown all over a 30 metre radius. Earlier night workers in Leeds were attacked with fireworks and one was injured and taken to hospital.
‘On the 18th August 2003 near Eccles a heath fire was started by fireworks and on 26th March 2004 a disabled lady had a firework thrown at her whilst walking her dog. The dog had to be put to sleep. On the 12th of March 2004 in Norwich a disabled man had a firework put down the back of his wheelchair by muggers. He suffered burns and his motorised wheelchair was damaged. On 28th October 2005, in Huddersfield, a Yorkshire Terrier was killed when yobs strapped a firework to its body. The list just keeps growing.
‘The Government's bill did nothing at all to stop this and neither have the recently enacted laws.
‘We must do something about these halfhearted measures. We have already collected a further 90,000 signatures and have decided that this response justifies us continuing to collect signatures up to the end of January 2006.
‘The petition continues now calling to Amend the Fireworks Laws in order to
‘1. Restrict fireworks to licensed organised displays only at certain times of year
‘2. To include Garden Fireworks in the restricted category
‘3. To reduce the decibel limit to a maximum of 85db for all fireworks including display fireworks
‘4. To make it illegal to use or possess fireworks without a valid licence.’
To help download a petition form and write to me about any accidents you have experienced
with fireworks (press cuttings will also help) contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by letter at 1, Methuen Avenue, Gaywood, King's Lynn, Norfolk. PE30 4BN