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Animal hospital pelted with fireworks as terrified cats and dogs cower inside

Terrified pets cowered inside a London animal hospital as it was surrounded and pelted it with fireworks.

Animal carers had to barricade themselves into the Finsbury Park facility along with the poorly pets as groups let off fireworks outside.

Police were caught up in the fireworks attack too as they tried to protect terrified staff and animals at the RSPCA Harmsworth Animal Hospital in North London.

The entrance to the hospital was lined with bins, trapping its staff inside the building, during the incident on Bonfire Night.

Dramatic camera footage taken by a member of staff and shared on Facebook by RSPCA Harmsworth shows the street alight with fireworks.

The hospital shared pictures of a frightened dog cowering indoors wide-eyed as the attack took place.

The RSPCA said Rose the Rottweiler was finding the “bangs” particularly frightening, and had to be moved upstairs to a quieter room by staff to try to comfort her.

The staffer who filmed the cruelty can be heard saying: “It’s like something out of a war zone.”

Many of the animals had to be moved elsewhere in the building due to the distress they were in and fear they could be hit by one of the fireworks.

RSPCA Harmsworth posted footage of the fireworks attack on its Facebook page, saying it had been having a “terrible” time.

The hospital wrote: “Our poor patients are left terrified every year because of the sale of fireworks to the public.

“Over the last week in particular, we have had a terrible time with gangs of youths clashing with the police right outside our doors.

“Fireworks are being aimed at buildings and police, causing much disruption to our poorly patients, who are safe inside our building, but distraught.

“It is also hugely upsetting for our staff. We are asking clients who need to visit the hospital to collect medication, for example, to try and do so before it gets dark over the next few days by appointment only.

“For your own safety, we do not wish anyone to be caught up in these clashes. We are also trying to make sure our staff can get in and out of the building safely at these times.”

A RSPCA spokesperson said: “Our dedicated workers at Harmsworth Animal Hospital are trying to continue to care and treat animals during the challenging times of lockdown and they should be able to do this without fear for themselves or the animals.

“Fireworks have been going off in this area during the week upsetting the dogs and animals in the hospital, and staff also reported sparks visible in the branches of the trees close to the hospital.

“We had one particularly horrible incident where fireworks were launched at a police car right outside the hospital.

“This anti-social and dangerous behaviour is obviously unacceptable but, as well as this, lockdown measures this year also mean that very few organised, public displays are likely to go ahead.

“We suspect this will mean people will have their own displays at home instead and we fear that this will result in lots of little displays taking place over a few weeks, spreading out fireworks noise and causing prolonged distress for animals.

“Fireworks are extremely stressful and frightening for lots of animals. But they can also cause very serious injury and even death to some.”

Every year, the RSPCA receives hundreds of calls about fireworks affecting animals.

Over the last four years, the animal welfare charity has received 1,543 calls about fireworks.

Its poll found 21% of UK adults reported owning, knowing or having heard about an animal that had died as a result of fireworks.

In 2019, the charity launched its Bang Out of Order campaign for tighter controls and regulations, in support of animals and people affected by them.

Attacks from fireworks can carry a fine of up to £5,000 or imprisonment of up to six months.

The Met Police said they were called to reports of a large group setting off fireworks on the nearby Andover Estate.

A spokesman said: “Police were called to Sonderburg Road, N7, shortly after 19.30hrs on Thursday, 5 November to reports of a group of people throwing fireworks.

“Officers attended. Fireworks were set off towards a police car. The group were dispersed. There were no arrests.”