Debate rages, but illegal fireworks could put you in jail
BATTLELINES have been drawn in Bundaberg between those who are for and against illegal fireworks.
The new year rang in with spectacular light shows put on by the Bundaberg Regional Council, but it was the illegal fireworks going off in backyards around the region that have ignited debate.
Those against the illegal light shows say the major concern is that unlike council fireworks, there's no warning of when they're going off - meaning that animals and residents can be spooked by the sudden sounds.
Those supporting illegal fireworks have labelled them "a bit of fun".
Thabeban resident Peter Bonaventura wrote a letter to the NewsMail saying illegal, unexpected fireworks had caused his dog massive upset on New Year's Eve.
"Are you prepared to pay for the damage done to my security screens/door because my dog is stressed and wanted access to the house for his security? I think not," he said.
"You wouldn't have thought about anyone else, except your enjoyment."
On Facebook, the topic attracted heated debate.
"Can't you just accept it's the end of the year and let people live a bit, kick back and enjoy the show, I feel lucky seeing fireworks go off close to me," wrote Jeremy Landt.
Chris Richardt agreed.
"Can you even breathe now days without someone having a cry about it?" he said.
Tahlee Taylor said her family enjoyed seeing fireworks let off by those nearby.
"Tie your animals up or put them inside for the night if they don't like noise," she said.
"You should realise that people are going to set off a few fireworks throughout the night, after all it was New Year's Eve.
"My kids had a ball watching them from our backyard."
However, many said the elderly and animals suffered because they did not know when fireworks would go off.
Nicky Maree said it was random fireworks on unexpected days that were the most bothersome.
"Had to stay up with the dogs and try calm them as they almost have heart attacks every time," she said.
"If she is in her enclosure she will rip herself apart trying to get out.
No.point complaining really, fireworks will always be a part of life and just have to prepare."
Cathy Cunningham said even though she thought people should be responsible for their pets, it was human safety that worried her the most.
"The reason they are illegal seems to be escaping logical thought...," she said.
"They are illegal because children lost their eyes and hands, simple.
"Unfortunately stupid people exist and theirs and other children need to be protected."
Melanie Stevens-Delaney said Pacific Breeze Estate had been hit by illegal fireworks.
"We had them during the Christmas period," she said.
"Our poor neighbourhood puppies are suffering."
Illegal fireworks could you a life - or more than $40,000
The Queensland Police Service warns that anyone lighting fireworks illegally could face criminal charges.
"If we get called to an incident and locate fireworks, we can seize them and notify the Department of Mines and Explosives (DME)," the spokesperson said.
"If however, there is damage or injury to people or property caused by the fireworks, or a large scale quantity seized, then charges under the criminal code may apply.
"It must always be remembered that fireworks by their very nature deliver some type of explosive charge and can be extremely dangerous if handled incorrectly and by people unlicensed and untrained."
The DME lists letting off illegal fireworks as a deadly activity.
"Illegal use of fireworks can be dangerous to you and to others and is a public nuisance," a spokesperson said.
People who use fireworks carelessly, or without knowing what they're doing can be killed or maimed.
"People who use fireworks carelessly, or without knowing what they're doing can be killed or maimed. They can also kill or maim others.
"The possession and use of fireworks is regulated under Queensland legislation including the Explosives Act - with people needing to be licensed."
The DME also stressed the issue illegal fireworks posed for pets.
"When frightened by fireworks, horses and dogs have been known to injure themselves and others by running away, potentially causing accidents and damage to property," the spokesperson said.
Police said they work closely with the DME, and that penalties could get as high as $47,120 or six months in prison.
Additionally, causing the loss or injury of an expensive injured animal could result in the legal recovery of damages.
The DME said a calming shirt could help relieve a dog's anxiety relating to fireworks, thunderstorms and gunshots.