Pet shop faces criticism for selling fireworks

Dofos on Blenheim Place was founded more than 60 years ago. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Dofos on Blenheim Place was founded more than 60 years ago. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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It’s the most explosive event of the year and one dreaded by pet owners across the city.

Booming bangers and whizzing rockets will dominate the skies on Bonfire Night – sending terrified animals scampering for cover.

But in a bizarre move that has confounded animal charities, an official fireworks merchant for Guy Fawkes Night has opened downstairs from Edinburgh’s oldest pet store.

Bosses at the Dofos Pet Centre on Blenheim Place say renting out the premises to the new business is simply a way to make more money but animal groups have reacted with “concern”.

Owner Denise Davidson said the fireworks were being sold from a vacant space beneath the famous pet story founded in 1953 and they even stocked calming remedies for animals scared witless on November 5.

“It’s just a way of making extra money,” she said. “The space underneath the shop was empty and I wanted to use it. We get people using both stores and it’s been very popular. You will always have fireworks being set off near to animals. I don’t think having the firework store there makes much of a difference to that.

“Sainsbury’s sells fireworks and has a pet aisle, would anybody say anything different about that?”

She added: “I’ve been down and made 100 per cent sure we’re meeting the correct safety measures. It’s downstairs and far away from any of our animals.”

Dowager Duchess of Hamilton, chair of Scottish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue, said she admired the Dofos store but said its latest move set a bad example.

“The shop has a good reputation and it’s sad to see them resort to this,” she said. 
“People would appreciate if they didn’t.

“Most dogs are petrified and it’s very difficult to watch them cowering in corners during Fireworks Night.”

Firework safety rules demand that vendors run their own risk assessments on properties to ensure appropriate measures are taken but there are no hard and fast restrictions on retail units wishing to sell them.

However, concerns remain about the relationship between fireworks and pets in Scotland.

In 2013 Scottish SPCA published a survey which found that 90 per cent of Scottish vets support tighter fireworks regulations.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “Some animals have a much stronger reaction to fireworks than others. Anyone with an animal that does suffer from a fear of fireworks should keep their pet indoors on Bonfire Night with the curtains closed and the television or radio turned on for background noise.”

HERO DRESS CODE FOR CAPITAL DISPLAY

LEGIONS of caped crusaders including Superman, Batman and Spiderman will be braving the November air to watch Edinburgh’s official fireworks display at Meadowbank tomorrow night.

Children are encouraged to attend the Bonfire Night spectacular in outfits belonging to their favourite superhero with the best dressed set to trigger the show. The event starts at 6pm.