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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Fines of up to €10,000 or 5 years imprisonment for misuse of illegal fireworks

The ISPCA has urged the public not to use, buy or sell fireworks to help safeguard all animals this Halloween.

The body has called on the public to take extra measures to safeguard the safety of not only domestic pets but farm animals and wildlife too.

At a recent national fireworks awareness campaign, ISPCA chief inspector Conor Dowling said:

“Halloween can be a frightening and dangerous time for animals due to the use of illegal fireworks. They cause significant distress for pets, other animals and livestock given their heightened senses of hearing and smell.”

“We would ask those considering acquiring or using illegal fireworks to think about the impact it has on others – on the elderly and infirm, on our vital emergency services, and on our pets. And to ask themselves, is it worth it?”


The ISPCA is amplifying the national fireworks awareness campaign messaging that fireworks are illegal because they are dangerous.

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  • Serious penalties can be imposed for the misuse of illegal fireworks – Fines of up to €10,000 or 5 years imprisonment
  • Fireworks cause significant distress to animals and to a wider section of communities.
Keep your pet safe during Halloween

The ISPCA has compiled some tips and advice to help pet owners to keep their pets safe this Halloween.

  • Walk your dog early morning and before dark, keeping them away from any fireworks in the area;
  • Pet owners can help train their dogs and cats to become accustomed to the sound of fireworks by playing similar sounds;
  • Try keeping the lights low. Play a radio or television in the background to help drown out some of the noise outside;
  • As difficult as it may be, try not to react to your pet showing signs of fear as it may be the best way you can help them. Licking objects such as Kong toys filled with treats may help ease your pet’s stress.
  • Have a safe, secure place for your pet to hide indoors. Ensure they cannot dart out an open door from the noise;
  • Consult your vet to discuss ways for managing your pet’s stress if necessary.
Outdoor pets

“Horses, ponies and donkeys should be securely stabled to prevent them from escaping or hurting themselves if they live in areas with a considerable amount of Halloween-related noise.”

Halloween costumes

The body said pet owners should be mindful that some pets may find wearing Halloween costumes uncomfortable and stressful.

Also, consider festive-themed bandanas instead, which will be less restrictive. If you do choose to put your pet in a costume, make sure it does not limit the animal’s movement, vision, ability to breathe or behave normally.

Sweets and wrappers

Chocolate and raisins are highly toxic to pets, as are any sweets containing the sugar substitute xylitol. Keep these out of reach from curious paws and noses.

Indoor hazards

Keep dogs and cats away from wires, decorations and candles.

Ingesting foil or plastic wrappers can also lead to digestive problems and may require surgery. If your pet does ingest something toxic, contact your vet immediately.


Furthermore, the ISPCA strongly recommends that all dog owners have their pets microchipped. It is a legal requirement for all dogs and puppies once they are 12-weeks-old.

A failure to do is an offence under the Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013 (AHWA).

“Also, dog owners need to have a microchipping certificate. It is important that your contact details are kept up-to-date on the microchipping database.”

“It is the pet owner’s responsibility to inform the database operator of any change. Once your dog has been microchipped, check it to ensure your details are correct.”

“If your pet becomes lost, having them microchipped is the best way to ensure they will be reunited with you.”

“Lost pets put extra pressure on animal rescue centres, dog pounds and veterinary practices. It also causes more upset for pets and pet owners. Therefore, don’t delay and get your dog microchipped today – it’s the law!”

“Lastly, while microchipping is recommended for cats, there are no current plans to make cat microchipping compulsory,” it added.

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