Wildlife warning - head of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue says look out for animals this Bonfire Night
Animal charities and organisations across the south and south east are urging anyone lighting a bonfire this weekend to look out for wildlife.
Many animals, particularly hedgehogs take shelter under wood piles at this time of year and may have no way of escaping if it's set fire to.
At this time of year East Sussex Wildlife Rescue says it receives numerous calls about animals needing help.
Its founder, Trevor Weeks says there are are few simple steps which will help prevent more incidents of wildlife dying or being injured.
With the wet and windy weather some Bonfire Night events have been cancelled - but moving celebrations to home may not be a wise decision.
Once the bonfire is out and the fireworks dimmed, those responsible are urged to make sure any display is properly cleared up, as the aftermath can still pose a risk to animals.
The RSPCA is also urging anyone holding fireworks displays to consider animals after a cat was killed by a suspected firework.
New figures have shown almost two-thirds (63%) of animal owners surveyed reported their pet appeared distressed during firework season.
One victim of the bonfire season already this year is beloved family pet Domino.
The RSPCA launched an investigation after her owners found her remains in their garden.
Her fur had been singed and was burned, with parts of her body missing.
Items, which looked like firework plastic shrapnel pellets, were also found, along with a rocket. A firework stick and some pellets were later found in a neighbour’s garden.
The family, who do not wish to be named, have been left shocked and devastated by the cruelty towards their beloved pet who they described as sweet, loving and skittish - as well as extremely beautiful and a much-loved family pet.
Her owner said she and a neighbour recall hearing the sound of a firework and something similar to a scream.
RSPCA inspector Simon Hoggett said: “I am shocked and appalled by what has happened to poor Domino and my heart goes out to her poor owner and family.
Last year the RSPCA started its first online reporting form for members of the public about the impact of fireworks on their animals - receiving 11,785 responses showing this is a real problem for animals across the country.
Carrie Stones, RSPCA campaigns manager, said: “We fear due to larger displays being cancelled there will now be lots of little, DIY displays taking place, spreading out fireworks noise and causing prolonged distress for animals across a larger area.
“We’d urge people to be considerate and keep neighbours with animals, including those with nearby horses and other livestock, informed of plans well in advance so they can make preparations to reduce the stress to their animals.
“Equally lower-noise fireworks can make such a difference to make displays safer for everybody.
“Put simply please keep animals in mind if you are planning your own display and check out our advice on our website.”