A Surrey woman's horse and best friend suffered a "horrific painful death" after fireworks like "mortar bombs" led to her bolting through a solid wooden fence. Joanna Barnett's horse Tallulah was put down as her level of injuries meant that the pain she was experiencing could not be helped with veterinary painkillers.
It was New Year's Eve when Tallulah obtained her injuries. The sky over Outwood village in Surrey erupted into explosions of light and sound as neighbours let off fireworks to bring in the New Year.
What might have been an innocent celebration turned into a sinister affair when Tallulah became spooked by the loud noises and bolted through a fence. Surrey Police closed off the road Tallulah had collapsed in as Joanna arrived at a "horrific scene" that she says she will "never be able to forget".
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Talullah was lying on a local road suffering from multiple injuries that had to be treated by an emergency vet. The vet sedated Tallulah, gave her fluids and a rectal exam, and helped to get her home.
Talullah was still in "horrific pain" at 1pm on New Year's Day, according to Joanna. She said: "She was shaking, dripping with sweat, falling over, and showing a heart rate of 120." The vet advised Joanna that Talullah would need to be put down and Joanna watched on as the beloved horse that she had owned for 18 years was euthanised.
Joanna says that Tallulah's death was a "direct result" of neighbours letting off fireworks, which had been going off sporadically since Halloween. She said: "They've been going off realistically from Halloween onwards and it's not predictable. It's not like you can say, 'okay well on that night I need to be there and watch'.
"I've got neighbours that have to sedate their horses and give them drugs to calm them and keep them safe. But in this instance, they have been off on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day , Boxing Day, about three days in between Christmas and New Year, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, ranging from about nine o'clock in the evening, and I was told they'd still been going on til one o'clock in the morning. I think it's just got out of hand really."
Some of the fireworks that had been lit on New Year's Eve "were not ordinary fireworks", according to one person Joanna spoke to. She said: "They were like mortar bombs, one person described them as. Whether that's true or not I don't know."
Having written to her local MP, Joanna wants the law around fireworks to be changed. She said: "You can't buy three packets of paracetamol but you can buy a packet of explosives in the shop. That just blows my mind.
"I think that does really need to be looked at again and changed. The laws that are in place aren't good enough to give the police confidence to protect animals and livestock.
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"In this day and age, I think humanity can do better than this. We know they cause suffering we've had literally thousands of messages.
"It's restored my faith in humanity, I've had thousands and thousands of messages directly via social media, messages with support love, and care, and many of them have lost animals, I've had a message from a veterinary of nine years in Afghanistan who's terrified of fireworks, can't bare them, hates them, his dogs hate them."
She went on: "Tallulah suffered horrifically, I saw it with my own eyes. She was in so much pain that veterinary painkillers didn't stop it. Her rate was 120, she was so shocked and broken that she was falling over." Joanna is encouraging people to write to their local MP to ask for changes in the way that fireworks are distributed in the UK. She says that she does not want any more animals and pet owners to have to go through this type of experience again.
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