Monday, April 15, 2024

Stress of bursting firecrackers now visible among animals

The impact of bursting of firecrackers on Diwali that caused noise and air pollution has started showing up in animals too.

Dog rescuers are witnessing a massive surge in distress phone calls over the past couple of days, as concerned owners reach out for assistance with lost, sick, or injured dogs.

“Someone had tied fireworks to the dog’s tail and set them off. The dog’s tail had to be surgically amputated this morning as it suffered serious injuries on its entire tail,” said N.N. Verma, a veterinarian.

This is one among many such cases that take place in and around Diwali every year and is only one of the ways in which dogs are harmed by the cacophony of light and sound that ensues.

Verma said that not only stray dogs, but also pets go through severe trauma due to the loud firecrackers. This year, shelter homes and rescue agencies have received a large number of calls, reporting missing pets and stray dogs from owners and community caretakers.

“My friend’s dog in Gomti Nagar ran away when the firecrackers began and is still missing. There are several other cases,” said Verma.

Dogs, with their sensitive hearing, are able to sense sounds at -5 and -15 dBs on average (something inaudible to the human ear). The noise-emitting firecrackers are at 125 dBs, which becomes extremely difficult for the animals to bear. This could even lead to irreversible hearing loss.

Humane Society International (Lucknow), the municipal corporation’s NGO partner for sterilising stray dogs, also runs a clinic in Lucknow.

Veterinarian and senior manager of the street dog program, Dr. Sanjay, said, “Amidst the vibrant festivities of Diwali, street dogs everywhere face challenges. The loud noises and bright lights scare them and heighten their anxiety. Community caretakers have, on instances, found strays in hiding with burn injuries on their bodies. Breathing in the chemical fumes can make them sick.”

“We have seen Diwali injuries in the past where entire body parts of the dogs have been blown off, some inflicted intentionally, some unintentionally,” said another vet at an animal clinic in the city.

Diwali tends to be a truly traumatic time for animals, pet or stray. The tragedy is that many such cases go unreported as well.

Displacement and missing cases are highest during this time.

At a shelter, Nawabi Tails, 20 dogs have been taken in, in the last five days. Three of them are cases of cruelty — one underwent surgery on Tuesday, the rest will also need medical attention.

Some of the rescues are suffering from food poisoning and severe stomach upset, as they had food off the streets that gotmixed with the explosives of fireworks.



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