Fireworks season (which comes around faster every year) can cause severe distress and fear to many dogs, with knock-on effects for dog owners.

Due to the animal welfare concerns caused by the unpredictability and loud noises of fireworks, Dogs Trust (the excellent charity supporting rehabilitation and eventual rehoming of many abandoned dogs) is actively calling for Firework Control Zones to be implemented around its Glasgow Rehoming Centre, which is based within my ward of Baillieston. 

The Scottish Government (in an unusual moment of common sense) recognised the need to act on the wide-ranging impacts of fireworks on people and animals through new laws that were introduced after receiving support from Scottish Conservatives.

There are now restrictions on the times that fireworks can be set off and though the sale of fireworks to those under 18 years old has long been illegal, the supply of fireworks to under 18s is now also unlawful, closing a previous loophole.

There is no doubt that when fireworks are in the wrong hands, it can lead to devastating anti-social incidents, some against our courageous emergency workers, and it is reassuring that the courts can now utilise a statutory aggravation when sentencing offenders who use fireworks to attack emergency workers.

Powers have been awarded to local authorities to be able to introduce Firework Control Zones (FCZs) where the private use of fireworks within certain boundaries will be outlawed.

During last week’s full council meeting I asked a question of the city convenor Councillor Ruairi Kelly about the administration of the FCZ and if he would pay a visit with me to the Dogs Trust rehoming centre to discuss its proposals.

I recently met with the Dogs Trust team at its fabulous rehoming centre in Broomhouse.

The team prepares for months in the run-up to bonfire night to implement safeguarding measures for the dogs in their care.

Dogs Trust Glasgow is forced to close early and increases staff support over Bonfire Night to ensure dogs remain as relaxed as possible while festivities go on.

On Saturday, November 4, 2023, it was reported that there were numerous private displays in the vicinity of the centre, including houses very nearby. On Sunday, which was Bonfire Night, the fireworks reportedly started at 3pm and were persistent until around 10pm. After that time, fireworks were sporadic until the early hours of Sunday morning.

The impact on the dogs in the care of Dogs Trust would have been sustained over around nine hours. Not only was there a welfare impact on the dogs, but the people setting off fireworks before 6pm or after 12am were breaking the law.

There are public displays in the area so people will still be able to enjoy fireworks if a Firework Control Zone is introduced. Nearby displays include the Fort, Carmyle Park, Garrowhill Park and Strathclyde Country Park.

Tyson is a six-year-old staffie/collie cross who was in the care of Dogs Trust over bonfire weekend 2023. Tyson was particularly distressed due to his life experiences which had manifested in physical and behavioural issues.

He had to be moved into the kennel area of the vet suite for the weekend which is doubly insulated with walls and windows. Poor Tyson. Fireworks can affect dogs like him who are rehabilitating and preparing for a new home and can contribute to a longer rehabilitation journey due to the stress they cause, which further impacts capacity at the centre.

Dogs Trust strives to do its utmost to provide the best possible care, however, without an FCZ being implemented around the Glasgow Rehoming Centre, fireworks will continue to have a significant impact on dogs in their care, and indeed pets in the area who are impacted by fireworks.

As a councillor, I have a wide range of responsibilities, including the welfare of animals residing at the rehoming centre in Broomhouse. I look forward to visiting the centre with the city convenor to discuss making the FCZ work as effectively as possible.

To find out how you can support your dog during firework season, visit: