RSPCA CYMRU is reminding members of the public to consider the needs of pets, and the welfare of animals, as celebrations to welcome 2017 draw nearer.
Fireworks are a common part of New Year’s festivities – but many animals can find them deeply distressing, and RSPCA Cymru is reminding the public of the many practical steps which can be taken to help protect their welfare.
Pet owners have been urged to plan ahead, with action such as sound-proofing and the provision of safe enclosures all able to help reduce firework phobia among Wales’ companion animals.
Lisa Richards, RSPCA welfare expert, said: “As many of us celebrate the start of 2017, the festivities can also be stressful for many animals – including our pets. Fortunately, there are a lot of straightforward steps which people can take to help keep their pets safe, and to ease their pets fear of loud noises.
“From making sure dogs and cats are indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off, to masking firework noises, and providing pets with a safe place to hide at all times, it’s so important pet owners plan ahead.
“Small animals living outside should be provided with lots of extra bedding to allow for burrowing, whilst parts of their enclosure could be covered with a blanket to provide further sound-proofing and insulation.”
Farm animals and wildlife can also be negatively affected by fireworks. RSPCA Cymru continues to urge organisers of events to avoid letting off fireworks near where animals are housed.
The charity is also reminding people as to the possible dangers of using sky lanterns, as part of any New Year celebrations. They can cause injuries to animals which lead to suffering, and even a slow, painful death.
Paul Smith, RSPCA public affairs manager added: “Sky lanterns, commonly known as ‘Chinese lanterns’, present a significant danger to animals, and can cause injuries which lead to suffering and a slow, painful death.
“The fact a majority of Local Authorities in Wales has banned these devices on their land only highlights the danger they can pose.
“Risks to animals include ingestion, entanglement and entrapment; whilst lanterns can also cause fire, destroy habitats or damage animal housing and feed.
“Whilst sky lanterns may look pretty, people need to remember that what goes up, must come down – so, for animal’s sake, we’re urging the public to give sky lanterns a miss this New Year.”
Another man charged in Ifan Owens assault case
ANOTHER man has been charged and remanded into custody in relation to the serious assault of Ifan Owens, aged 19, in Aberystwyth on January 14.
Michael Arwyn Jones, 24, has been charged with S18 Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent and Possession of Cannabis.
Last week, Billy Valentine, 19, of Terrace Road, Aberystwyth, and David Lloyd, 25, of no fixed abode, entered no pleas when they appeared at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court.
The pair were sent to trial at Swansea Crown Court on May 11 at 10am.
Due to the serious nature of the offence, Lloyd’s bail was revoked.
The court found there was a real risk he would abscond or re-offend.
As well as being charged with grievous bodily harm, he was also charged with having a blade exceeding 3 inches in a public place without good reason or lawful authority.
Valentine was also charged with being in possession of herbal cannabis as the time of his arrest. This was by Magistrates, who gave him a 12 month conditional discharge, and ordered him to pay £20 to fund the victims of crime, and £85 to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Consultation to launch today on future of health services in Ceredigion
HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD are formally announcing the launch of their consultation at County Hall in Haverfordwest this morning (Apr 19).
The proposals, the Board say, will shape the future provision of health and care services to the general population.
These provisions will be ‘safe, viable and offer an improvement to what is currently provided’.
The Herald will be attending the event, which starts at 9:30am.
You can watch a live stream here.
The 12-week consultation, which is clinically-led, will involve a number of events for communities, both general and targeted, as well as an awareness raising campaign.
It is expected that the announcements will have big changes for Withbyush, Glangwili, Prince Philip and Bronglais hospitals.
Issue of lifeboats raised to Prime Minister
BEN LAKE MP made his Prime Minister’s Questions debut, raising the important issue of the future of Cardigan Bay’s lifeboat provision.
On Thursday (Apr 18) Mr Lake commended the valiant efforts of RNLI staff and volunteers at New Quay lifeboat station who have been safeguarding those who venture out into the bay, be it for work or pleasure, since 1864.
He also expressed concern at the possibility that there will no longer be an all-weather lifeboat in Ceredigion from 2020.
Mr Lake asked the Prime Minister whether she would agree ‘that the invaluable work of the RNLI serves as a fourth emergency service, and that as such it is essential the coastline of Ceredigion, like every other populated coastline, has access to this service whatever the weather?’
The Prime Minister responded: “Search and rescue at sea is provided by several organisations, including the coastguard and the RNLI. The RNLI has a proud tradition, and we should be grateful for its record on search and rescue at sea. It is obviously independent and decides where best to put its resources, but we are supporting the work of independent lifeboat charities through our Rescue Boat Grant Fund, which has allocated more than £3.5 million since 2014 to increase capacity and resilience by providing new boats and equipment.”
Ben Lake said: “I was glad of the opportunity to raise an issue that is of great concern to communities across Ceredigion with the Prime Minister. I look forward to working with the RNLI and campaign representatives in search of a long-term solution, and in particular seek to ascertain whether the Rescue Boat Grant Fund could be of benefit to ensuring the retention of an all-weather lifeboat at New Quay.”
The RNLI has decided to downgrade New Quay Lifeboat Station to an Inshore Lifeboat when the service life of its Mersey-class All-Weather Lifeboat expires in 2020.
The proposed new lifeboat will not be able to launch in conditions exceeding Force 7 in the daytime or Force 6 at night.
After 2020, there will be no All-Weather Lifeboats in the whole of Ceredigion, leaving a gap of 70 miles between the All-Weather stations of Barmouth and Fishguard.
The latest generation of All-Weather Lifeboats can travel at 25 knots in 30 minutes in calm conditions. In a challenging sea, the nearest boats at Barmouth and Fishguard would take more than an hour and a half to respond to an emergency off New Quay or Aberaeron.
The mission statement of the RNLI reads: “Our crews aim to launch their lifeboats with 10 minutes of being notified and can operate up to 100 nautical miles out at sea. We aim to reach at least 90% of all casualties within 10 nautical miles of the coast within 30 minutes of a lifeboat launch – any weather.”
The Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign are questioning how local rescues can take place in a challenging sea to meet this aim of the RNLI. Over 10,000 have currently signed a petition campaigning against the proposed changes.
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