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Protecting pets from fireworks is becoming increasingly difficult

Hawaiian Humane Society dog
Zoe Dym
A dog at the Hawaiian Humane Society in Honolulu.

The Honolulu Fire Department states that fountains, sparklers, and aerial fireworks are illegal. Firecrackers may be used with a permit on New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year, and the Fourth of July.

This hasn’t stopped some residents from frequently igniting aerial fireworks since October.

Daniel Roselle, the director of community relations at the Hawaiian Humane Society, said lighting fireworks during undesignated times surprises pets and pet owners.

"It’s becoming harder and harder to predict when the fireworks are gonna go off," Roselle said.

"Typically we would advise people what to do on Christmas or on New Year's. But now we’re getting fireworks at the beginning of December and November, so the tips of what to do and when to bring your dogs indoors are increasingly not working because there’s so much unpredictability around the fireworks," Roselle said.

The best way to keep your animal companion safe is to bring them indoors, even if they are typically outdoor pets.

When left outside, the loud noise causes pets to panic. Dogs and cats can jump over the fence in an attempt to run away from the noise. Keep pets inside, and play music or leave the TV on to cancel out any sudden loud noises.

Roselle says the Humane Society is prepared with overnight staff for New Year’s Eve to comfort all the animals in their care from guinea pigs to large dogs, explaining, "If you think about an aerial, it’s this concussion, right? It’s this big concussive thing that as humans, we may not like it sometimes, but we know what’s going on."

"It’s completely out of the blue for pets. They have no idea. And they can probably feel this big loud boom without any context at all and it’s very scary for them," Roselle said.

The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, wrote to Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi asking him to outlaw all fireworks year-round.

While a complete ban on fireworks seems unlikely, the Humane Society and pet owners across the island ask to limit fireworks to designated times so they can at least prepare to keep their furry friends safe.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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