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How firecrackers affect animals :

High-pitched solutions for pet owners

Diwali brings with it a host of firecrackers and their correspondingly
loud noises that pets find difficult to bear. Thane Plus gets some expert
solutions to help deal with the problem.
Yogesh Gupta, Thane

It's the same old story every Diwali. While thousands of people across the
city celebrate the festival by bursting crackers, animals - both pet and
stray - tremble with fear, as they cannot bear the loud noises. Though
there can only be solace for strays when people stop bursting such loud
crackers, there is still hope for pet animals and their owners.

Animal activists inform that dogs have an incredible hearing ability,
which can detect sounds that are too faint for the human ear, and can hear
sounds pitched at frequencies above and below the range of an average
person. Shakuntala Majumdar, President of Thane Society for Protection of
Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) says, "Their actual frequency range is 67 Hz to
45 kHz, which is 'unheard of' to the human ear's high range of 20 kHz.
Obviously, firecrackers of even lower decibels, then, can drive the
animals crazy."

Dr V Chariar, a practicing veterinarian in the city informs that many pet
owners get their dogs to his clinic 3-4 days before Diwali every year. "We
give anti-anxiety drugs for their pet dogs to reduce their fear and other
feelings when crackers are being burst," he says, explaining that a normal
cracker sounds like a bomb to dogs due to their acute hearing capability.
"The fumes and noise of crackers force the pets to hide under cots and
furniture," he adds.

Dharnendra Sangavi, trustee of the animal NGO Karuna says, "Fear of loud
noises, including fireworks, thunder and cars can cause dogs and other
animals to panic and run away. In the process they might injure themselves
and others around."

For stray animals, on the other hand, it's a different story. As Anuradha
Ramaswami, Trustee, SPCA explains, "No one takes care of animals when
bursting firecrackers. With every nook filled will children bursting
crackers, stray animals can only run around trying to hide from the
noise." She informs that this is a serious offence under the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and is a punishable offence if proved, with
fine, imprisonment or both.

"In many areas people play the most inhuman game of tying firecrackers on
dogs and donkeys' tails and letting them loose, watching the fun while the
animals run around panic-stricken and ultimately burn themselves," reveals

Pet owners can take extra precaution to pacify their pets. But can
anything be done for stray animals? "Firecrackers not only harm the
environment but also scare innocent birds and animals. In Diwali holidays,
concerned citizens may help these frightened animals by providing a
temporary local shelter," says Nilesh Bhanage, General Secretary, Plant
and Animals Welfare Society (PAWS).

* During noisy festivals like Diwali, create a safe place for the pet to
hide from frightening noises, such as under the bed
* Give them access to any place they prefer
* Try to distract your pet in any activity that distracts them from being
afraid, their favourite game, a chew toy, etc
* Take your pet to a veterinarian and check if they need to be given
anti-anxiety drugs a week or two before Diwali

URL- http://www.timesthaneplus.com/fullStory.asp?articleID=TP1ART10162006