Fireworks enthusiasts are being urged to think of the animals after a horse spooked by a fireworks display died in Waikato.

District road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said police were called to reports of an animal in distress near State Highway 3 on the southern outskirts of Ohaupo about 9.20pm on Saturday.

"Members of the public watching the fireworks display going on over the other side of the small town from the road described seeing a horse which appeared injured after going through a fence and distraught.

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"Various people tried to calm the animal and others put their vehicle hazard lights on and tried to stay ahead of the horse as it ran along the side of the road heading south towards Te Awamutu," she said.

"Animal Control were contacted but the horse then began running down the middle of the road where it was unfortunately struck by an oncoming vehicle about 10 minutes later and died at the scene."

It was fortunate the driver of the car, although shaken, escaped injury, Mrs Grace said.

"If in town, consider speaking to your neighbours and telling them when and what you are planning to allow them to keep any pets inside, that way everyone, including four-legged family members can have a safe and as stress-free a Guy Fawkes as possible," she said.

A ban on the personal sale of fireworks - which began yesterday - is to be considered by a parliamentary select committee this Wednesday, November 5 - Guy Fawkes Day.

It comes after a petition from Ponsonby film-maker Charlotte Purdy, who gathered 25,000 signatures through an online petition.

Ms Purdy said she was motivated to organise the petition by the impact fireworks had on her dog Finlay, a Wheaten terrier. The final trigger was an image of a dog hurt by a firework.

"Most animals are incredibly frightened by fireworks and we shouldn't just ignore that fact. It's petrifying for many pets, wildlife, livestock and zoo animals."


Family First have already spoken out against any proposed ban, with the organisation's national director Bob McCoskrie saying that fireworks bbq parties were one of the great family rituals for kiwi families.

"Rather than taking away the fun and joy of fireworks, we should be promoting a safety message and encourage parents to strongly supervise any use of fireworks.

"Regulations around the limited availability of sales have been just one positive step."

Family First was calling on the select committee to reject the call for a ban, but to ensure strong regulations were in place, Mr McCoskrie said.

Northern fire communications shift manager Colin Underdown said they received 15 firework-related calls overnight.

Although they did not cause any considerable damage, it was a surprising number of calls for the first day of firework sales, he said.

Senior fire risk management officer Mike McEnaney urged fireworks users to "aim for the stars, not your mates".