Greyhound scared to death by fireworks

Heartbroken dog owners whose greyhound was ‘scared to death’ by fireworks are campaigning for a restriction on unofficial bonfire night displays.

His owners took the difficult decision to put their beloved Leo to sleep to end his torment after a barrage of fireworks in Churchdown.

Like many animals, Leo, would get distressed by loud bangs. But his symptoms were so extreme a decision was made with vets to put him to sleep to end his misery.

Ten-year-old Leo was full of life and, although he disliked fireworks, the intensity and frequency of last year’s parties proved too much for him.

His owners said it was due to the immense stress he suffered when hearing fireworks.

Leo’s symptoms caused him to panic, dehydrate and reject food, Fireworks are no longer reserved for November 5 and can last on a nightly basis from Hallowe’en for a further three to four weeks. There was no escape from the daily barrage for poor Leo and, together with the local vets, we thought it kinder to euthanise him rather than prolong his torment. We aren’t looking for a ban of any sort but to appeal to people’s better nature to curb their use of fireworks in the interest of pets and other animals.

Leo’s story has prompted a group of Churchdown residents and dog walkers to get together in the interests of animal welfare, calling for a restriction on firework use.

They are planning a poster campaign and leaflet drop around Churchdown to help get their message across.

By reducing firework nights to just two, on a weekend either side of November 5, they hope to offer some respite to nervous pets and their owners.

Churchdown is famous for one of the biggest organised fireworks events in the county. It takes place at Churchdown Park and is attended by hundreds of families.

Despite their anger, campaigners are happy for these organised displays to continue.

Fellow dog lover Garry Atkinson, owner of greyhounds Kevin, Charlie and Bryan, helped establish the campaign group.

He is calling on the public to now show their support to stop other owners from going through the same heartache as poor Leo’s.

Something has to be done, When I heard what happened to the owners I thought that was awful. I’ve spoken to other residents and dog owners who agree there is a problem. It has become almost a nightly barrage for distressed pets and their owners. We don’t mind the public displays and would encourage people to go to one those. It is the people who are staging them in their back gardens or selling fireworks off on the cheap who are causing problems. It keeps going every single night. One of my dogs climbs the walls when there are fireworks. There is total panic and distress. He does not eat or drink. We want to shame people who are recklessly using fireworks. Hopefully, people will hear Leo’s story and be touched by it.

To find more about how to get involved and show support, visit