Strict prohibitions – the new New Year’s Eve rules in Vienna

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The turn of the year is just around the corner, and the city of Vienna asks on New Year’s Eve – as every year – to “refrain from any kind of firecrackers.” The details.

Within the city limits this year – as in previous years – there is a ban on firecrackers, firework rockets and other pyrotechnics. And for a good reason: “New Year’s Eve firecrackers are not only a nuisance for children, the elderly, domestic and wild animals, but also bad for the environment and the climate,” emphasizes Vienna’s Climate City Councilor Jürgen Czernohorszky. “On New Year’s Eve, firecrackers should be avoided!”

“Firecrackers release large quantities of air pollutants such as particulate matter, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and heavy metals. Loud firecrackers can cause stress to people and animals, and all that remains of the brief enjoyment is a lot of garbage,” stresses Michael Kienesberger, head of the City of Vienna’s Environmental Protection Department.

The Forestry and Agriculture Department additionally asks not to shoot off rockets and firecrackers in forest areas, parks and wildlife refuges. “On New Year’s Eve, think of the many animals of our city and therefore refrain from rockets and firecrackers, especially in forest areas,” said the head of the Wildlife Service Vienna Günther Annerl.

“Fireworks and firecrackers around New Year’s Eve can be torture for dogs and other animals,” stresses animal welfare ombudsman Eva Persy: “Therefore, the same applies this year: prepare yourself and your four-legged friends for restless hours. Many home and wild animals suffer from banging and loud noises. They exhibit fearful behaviour, cringe or even panic.”

Among other sensitive measures for pet owners is leaving the dog and cat alone when they are hiding—not trying to get the animal out of its hiding place when it feels safe, for example, under a bench. Animals are disturbed not only by the noise but also by the lights associated with fireworks. It is therefore advisable to darken windows with blinds or curtains but to turn on lights in the room and create a pleasant atmosphere by playing music.

Distractions (e.g., setting tasks, chewing objects) can help if the dog is only moderately affected by the firecrackers and fireworks. As a general rule, cheer up instead of pity. “Be there for your pet while trying to exude calm and serenity yourself. Walk your dog only on a leash and time your New Year’s Eve walks so that you are not outside at the worst ‘firecracker’ times,” says Eva Persy. “Never leave a frightened pet alone under any circumstances!”

“With sensitive reacting pets, it is important to take measures in advance,” says the animal protection ombudswoman. “This can be an introduction of the animals to the New Year’s Eve noise or even the joint ‘escape’ to the countryside. To worry only on New Year’s Eve day about how you can help your stressed four-legged friends is much too late!”

TierQuarTier Vienna also prepares for New Year’s Eve every year. “Like every year, we will darken our windows, turn up radios and leave the lights on in the hallways at night. This is to minimize stress in the form of loud noises or bright fireworks for our animals,” says TierQuarTier operations manager Thomas Benda.

In addition, the animals are offered plenty of hiding places in caves and chew items and kongs to relieve stress. “For particularly pre-stressed animals, we also work with so-called RelaxoPets. These small speakers emit a frequency that has a calming effect on animals,” Benda explains.

“However, the most important thing for our charges is that no firecrackers or fireworks are set off near the animal shelter. This is also prohibited by law, and we ask the public to comply with this regulation,” Benda appeals. “Especially animals suffer enormously from the noise and are also exposed to it without protection!” Benda said.

Not only for pets – but also for wild animals – the renunciation of rockets and firecrackers is important: Even if you don’t see them often – Vienna and Vienna’s surroundings are the habitats of a variety of wild animals. “The loud crashing and exploding rockets mean pure stress for deer, fox, badger, hare and a plethora of other native wild animals,” says the head of the Wildtierservice, Wien Günther Annerl.

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