Dog owner demands firework restriction

Penny with best friend Ernie
Penny with best friend Ernie

A WOMAN whose dog died after bolting from a firework is calling for them to be banned except on bonfire night.

Ella Todd, 38, was left devastated by the loss of rescue dog Penny, who died on November 26, and vows to make changing the law one of her main focuses from now on

“A massive and very loud firework went off right above our heads,” she said. “It was absolutely huge.”

The mother of two said the dog bolted, pulling the lead from her wrist, and disappeared around the corner of Rowlands Road, Worthing.

She and her husband searched all night without success.

“We were absolutely desperate,” said Ella. “To me it was like losing a child.”

The pair were at a charity meal for ‘Caring for The Animals Trust’ when Penny ran off.

“As dawn came I had a little bit of hope because it was a Sunday morning, so less traffic and there was a chance someone might find her,” said Ella.

Her worst fears were realised when, at 10.30am, the police called to say a dog-walker had found Penny’s body on the beach.

“It must have been a shocking sight, and so sad with her collar and lead still attached,” said Ella.

“She had been in the sea for quite a long time. We will never know if she ran into the sea and drowned or if she died of hypothermia.

“My instinct says she ran straight into the water and got wet and was too scared to come back towards the town because more fireworks were going off.”

Penny’s body was then taken to Grove Lodge vets to be identified.

“One of injustices is that it was on November 26, 21 days after fireworks night,” said Ella.

“I felt so angry that someone’s irresponsible fun had killed a member of my precious family.

“I’m quite a tough person but it floored me.”

Ella now hopes to help save the lives of other dogs.

“It’s such a terrible waste that Penny died, a tragedy, but if one or two other dogs are saved, that will go some way to making it more bearable.

“I can’t get her back, but I can hopefully stop other people losing their dogs.”

Ella said it was not only dogs and cats that suffered, but wild animals and horses too, adding that many elderly people felt stressed and frightened by fireworks.