“It’s so tragic, these dogs panic”, says Cook Islands RSPCA vice-president Erika Bult.
“We are left dealing with the aftermath.”
She says many dogs become panic and become disorientated and lose their way. It can take them three to four days to find their way home, if they make it home at all. Some get involved in accidents.
“They get hit by cars because they are not thinking straight. They end up at Te Are Manu Veterinary Clinic (TAM) and have to have operations, stitches, and TAM staff are working long hours to cope.”
She says it happens every year, with people apparently forgetting about the effect of fireworks on their pets.
Bult says anyone who finds a dog wandering and looking lost, particularly in the Muri area, should take a photo of it, or add a description of it to the Rarotonga Community and Beyond Facebook page.
“Try to hold onto the dog until its owner can be found, rather than allowing it continue to wander.”
The CISPCA has limited resources which are taken up dealing with transporting animals that have been involved in road accidents for treatment, as well as other animal emergencies, Bult adds.
“For this reason, it is up to the owners and the public to take responsibility for the safe return of dogs to their owners.
“While most dogs will find their own way home eventually, please help speed this process if you become aware of a stray dog.”
Bult says prevention is the best cure, especially when it involves fireworks and pets.
“Keep your pets shut safely inside the house with a blanket and some water. They are more likely to stay safe and comfortable when they are secured in this way.
“Farm animals, particularly horses, can scare easily as well, so move these animals as far as possible away from any fireworks.
“Keep them well tethered and away from fence wire and loose timber etc. Visit and reassure them often.”