Injured horse prompts fresh calls for ban on fireworks
An injured horse that was spooked by fireworks has generated fresh calls for fireworks to be banned after a nearby party turned to anguish for a West Auckland family.
The screams of Georgia Harris' horse, Kaira, were heard just after fireworks were let off near their property in Oratia around 9pm on Easter Sunday.
Harris and family members raced down to the stables to find the one-year-old horse had kicked both back legs through a gate and was highly stressed.
It took a crowbar to free Kaira but the damage was already done, Harris said. Kaira suffered cuts on both legs and her stomach, as well as damaged tendons.
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Harris said it first appeared the back legs were broken and feared the possible option of putting her down.
"I've never seen a horse so frightened," Harris said.
"To have an animal scream and to calm her down... it was really bad.
"Luckily we didn't have to shoot her on the property... she got spooked and was really stressed, it looked like she tried to jump the fence."
A video which captured the sound of the distressed horse in agony was uploaded to Facebook. It generated more than seven thousand views and 145 shares with people calling for a ban on the personal sale of fireworks.
Harris said it appeared the party down the road let off what appeared to be commercial fireworks and "couldn't care less" when approached about what happened.
"It's a random time of the year to be doing it...our neighbours know we have animals and usually warn us... this group didn't."
Harris said the decision to upload the video was in effort to highlight how stressed animals can be around fireworks.
She hoped to ultimately see a ban on the sale of fireworks.
"Not a lot of people see the other side of fireworks and how badly it stresses out animals," she said.
"We're all for fireworks, don't get us wrong. But we're trying to get the message out for it to be used in a controlled environment.
"We would love to see a ban on selling fireworks and see it being done properly in controlled way... it could have ended really badly."
Harris said a complaint was made to police and a vet is expected to visit Kaira.
An opportunity to advance animal welfare was lost in 2015 when the government rejected a 25,000 signature petition calling for a ban on the public sale of fireworks.
The New Zealand Fire Service supported the 2015 petition but a spokesperson said last year they now focused on providing the public with safety advice.
In New Zealand fireworks are sold for three days in the lead up to Guy Fawkes – November 2 to 5. Buyers must be 18 years old and have valid ID.
The sale of fireworks to the public is illegal in every Australian state except the Northern Territory and Tasmania.