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N.S. woman calls for private fireworks regulation after her dog dies 'scared and alone'


Canada Day weekend fireworks have sparked more calls to either regulate or ban backyard fireworks displays in Nova Scotia.

“I think they should be regulated. I think there should be a set time before people are allowed to blow them off and they should have to let people know,” said Kassidy Augustine.

Augustine’s dog, Jupiter, bolted from her backyard on Canada Day in response to a fireworks display going off near her home around 8:30 p.m.

The backyard was fenced in but Jupiter found a hole underneath it.

Augustine and her boyfriend ran after her dog and people in the neighbourhood scrambled to try to help. Augustine said, at one point, someone managed to pick her dog up but Jupiter bit the person and they let go. 

Eventually, Augustine and her boyfriend found Jupiter dead beside nearby train tracks. She believes her dog was hit by a train.

“I felt so guilty. She died scared and alone and it was really hard to find her there,” Augustine said.

The dog owner expected fireworks that night. She had planned to stay inside with her dog for a community fireworks event at 10 p.m.

What she didn’t expect was for neighbours to light fireworks when it was still light out.

“I don't think they were malicious and I'm not angry with them,” she said.  “I just want people to know and I want people to realize their effects when they set off fireworks. It may be a pretty lightshow but it affects other people around them, it affects the wildlife.”

Thousands of others are calling for a ban on the sale and use of consumer fireworks in Nova Scotia. More than 15,000 people have signed a petition arguing fireworks cause terror, pain or death to animals, and also negatively impact people living with PTSD or autism.

Hugh Chisolm, a retired veterinarian who is also the spokesperson for the group #Fireworkshurt, said the group has received reports that at least nine dogs ran away Canada Day weekend and at least one died. While some of the dogs have returned home safely, others are still missing.

“We're not opposed to the official events like the Canada Day fireworks in Halifax or Sydney,” said Chisolm. “It's the private stuff that just seems to be getting worse and worse. And as I say, it’s out of control.”

The owner of Fireworks FX believes people should warn neighbours before lighting fireworks but said bans won't work. He also thinks displays bring joy.

“Fireworks is one way that you and I, our families and friends celebrate and are made happy and we can forget about our troubles and the world for just a few brief moments,” said Fred Wade.

The province of Nova Scotia maintains it’s not currently considering banning consumer fireworks.

A provincial spokesperson said municipalities may have by-laws in place for when consumer fireworks can be used.

Augustine wanted to thank the people who tried to help her dog.

“I just want to thank the people who tried to help her and tried to save her,” she said. “That means a lot to me.” Top Stories

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