Dog owners say they are heartbroken after their 'gentle' and 'affectionate' pet died following a walk on the beach where a firework was set off nearby.

Richard Rice, 32 was walking his dog, Rocky, along Swansea beach on November 8 when a loud rocket was set off by a group of people hidden from sight in the sand dunes.

The four-year-old lurcher was so terrified by the firework that he sprinted off and his owner lost sight of him.

Richard and his friends spent the evening and the early hours of the morning looking for the dog along the beach but could not find him in the darkness.

On Saturday morning, Richard received a phone call from someone who had found the dog dead on the beach.

Me and my friends had been looking all night and then Saturday morning someone walking by found him around a mile up from where we were the night before and phoned the number on his tag. It was just horrible to see him there on the beach, you see these stories of people losing their dogs and how fireworks scare them but never think it's going to happen to your own dog. I just thought someone had found him and he was with them. We're pretty sure that he died from a heart attack because of the way that he was found.

Richard Rice, Rocky's owner

The news follows recent reports that a family in Newport had their house torched and narrowly escaped themselves after fireworks were thrown near the back of their property.

Currently the law on fireworks states that it is an offence to throw, cast or fire any firework in a public place and that they are not to be set off between 11pm and 7am.

Rocky should have died in the house surrounded by his family and of old age, not on the beach, alone, cold and terrified. He was part of our family, and we've lost him and for a few second of light it is just not worth it. Fireworks should at least be silent. They affect animals, people with PTSD, people with autism. Why can't we just watch them at displays? This was days after bonfire night. People need to know that if that firework hadn't gone off then we would probably still have our pet.

Sarah Cluff, Richard's housemate

A UK-wide petition calling for the ban of fireworks from public sale has attracted over 300,000 signatures with many agreeing that they should be left to organised firework displays.