CROSSVILLE (WATE) – Fireworks have the potential to spook horses and livestock in rural areas.
One horse owner says in the nights leading up to the Fourth of July, her neighbors set off large scale fireworks. The sounds and lights scared her two Tennessee walking horses, Spicy and Luna, causing one to fall down.
“The fireworks started off as gunshot type sounds. Small fire in the sky. As it graduated more like cannon sounds. Large fireworks that you would find over a lake,” said horse owner Stephanie Tanner.
Tanner says she didn’t realize fireworks would be an issue, since she lived in a rural part of Cumberland County. Nonetheless, they startled 11-year-old Luna, and 4-year-old Spicy got anxious. When one fell, luckily, it only received scratches.
“In our case we had wire, we had metal and we had electric. They didn’t think to butt up against electric. They weren’t scared of it. They were just scared of what they did not know, which was the fireworks,” said Tanner.
Tanner’s veterinarian, Dr. Mabean Thompson, says the greatest concern he has with horses and livestock is the injury they might inflict upon themselves in fear. He says horses would rather flee from danger and will stop at nothing to get away when they feel threatened.
“To know that they’re willing to be shocked by the fence in fear, just… it’s like a mama bear and a cub,” said Tanner.
Dr. Thompson says the best solution is to move horses and livestock into a barn, where the noise and lights are blocked. He also says neighbors who know they’ll be lighting off fireworks near animals like this should give their owners a warning before they begin.