Every year on November 5, the UK celebrates the death of a man who failed to blow up Parliament in 1605 by burning his effigy in a massive fire and setting off explosives willy nilly, needlessly injuring ourselves in the process. It's a bizarre tradition, and one not short of unnecessary risks.
Over 400 years after Robert Catesby and his gang of plotters (including the much more famous Guy Fawkes) attempted and failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament, they may have claimed another victim: An 18-week-old terrier.
A pet owner says that her puppy died of a heart attack after being terrified by firework displays in the local area. The dog's owner – Susan Paterson – wrote in a viral post on Facebook that Molly had died of a heart attack caused by fireworks near her home in South Yorkshire, England.
"Due to the enormous amount of fireworks with loud bangs going off around Wombwell and lower Darfield last night, we lost a young terrier with a heart attack," Paterson wrote in the post.
"Please think of the animals. Molly was only 18 weeks old and died of FRIGHT caused by fireworks."
Speaking to The Independent, an RSPCA spokesperson said that without a post-mortem, it's hard to know exactly how Molly died. However, they noted that intense fear or stress can damage health or exacerbate an underlying condition.
Susan urged people to sign a petition calling for a ban on the sale of fireworks to the general public. The petition, shared elsewhere and not just on Susan's post, has received over 250,000 signatures so far.
"The noise from fireworks causes a great amount of fear, stress and anxiety in wild animals," the petition reads.
"Errant fireworks can also cause environmental damage through fires, and from the release of poisonous chemicals and particle-laden smoke, which is not just inhaled by wildlife, but contaminates the natural environment."
The government is also under pressure from surgeons, who are calling for graphic images to be displayed on firework packaging in order to reduce the number of injuries caused by the explosives. In the last year, 1,936 people visited A&E due to injuries caused by fireworks, according to the British Association of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS).
“Another year has now passed and the Government has failed to take appropriate action to reduce the number of children and young adults who sustain life-changing injuries from the misuse of fireworks," Mark Henley, consultant plastic surgeon and president of BAPRAS, said in a statement.
"Although packaged as toys, these are serious explosives, and the types of reconstructive surgery being required would not be out of place in a war zone.”
BAPRAS says that every year hand surgeons see devastating injuries, with people losing large chunks of their hands. They want warnings on all firework packaging as a "graphic reminder" of the severe yet entirely avoidable damage they cause.