Bill Turnbull warns back-garden fireworks could leave dogs and cats ‘very distressed’
Celebrity television presenter and Suffolk resident Bill Turnbull has warned an increase in “freelance firework activity” this weekend could cause huge distress to pets.
More people are expected to set off fireworks from their back gardens this year, following the cancellation of many public displays this year due to the coronavirus crisis.
The RSPCA has also warned the 2020 firework season could be the worst for animals for decades, with Saturday expected to be the busiest night for private displays.
Mr Turnbull - who moved to Suffolk in 2016, after leaving BBC Breakfast - has hosted a Pet Sounds show for three years on Classic FM to help animals and their owners keep calm during the noisy fireworks season.
“The difficulty is there won’t be so many organised shows going on which means there will be a lot more freelance firework activity, which means more noise rather than less, which is unfortunate really,” he said.
The 64-year-old said his Pet Sounds shows - the first of which aired on Classic FM on Thursday night, with the second to be broadcast between 7pm and 9pm on Saturday, November 7 - is designed to help sooth pets, as well as give owners advice.
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However Mr Turnbull, who owns three female black Labradors aged three, 11 and 14, said: “The firework season extends for a long time, especially in cities.
“The trouble is, when you hear a firework as a human you know what it is and you can say: ‘Oh well’ even if it gives you a shock.
“But you can’t explain that to a dog or cat. They don’t know what it is and so it is very distressing.
“For days they have no idea what is going to happen next so understandably they get really sometimes distraught about it.
“They don’t know where it is coming from and how much of a threat it is. Fortunately, the music does help them.”
RSPCA welfare expert Dr Mark Kennedy said: “We know that a lot of animals find fireworks distressing and that classical music can help some pets relax and mask the sounds of loud fireworks, so we hope Classic FM’s Pet Sounds will help animals and their owners.
“If your pet finds fireworks distressing, then we’d encourage you to seek advice from your vet or a clinical animal behaviourist.”
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