ANIMAL lovers have hit out at unofficial firework displays after a number of distressing incidents over the weekend.

In the most upsetting case, an 11-month-old farm dog was hit by a car on the M5 after fleeing in fright when loud fireworks went off near Stonehouse.

The young New Zealand huntaway called Izzy escaped from her owner’s garden and ran off on Saturday night.

Sadly, she died after being hit by a car on the motorway.

The dog, which was being taught to work cattle, had been owned by the family for less than six weeks.

Her owner, who asked not to be named, said: “We had been away for the day and due to travel delays were unable to get back during daylight hours. “Fireworks were let off in the early evening around 100 metres away at an unannounced event and Izzy must have escaped in fear.

“We would never have left Izzy unaccompanied in the garden if we had known a firework event was planned nearby.

“We are hoping people will learn from our story.”

Meanwhile, donkeys at a sanctuary in Nailsworth were left petrified and suffered with diarrhoea.

Other animals including horses and cows have also been affected across the district.

Izzy’s owner spotted the body of a dog on the hard shoulder by junction 13 on her way home and was concerned that it looked like her pet.

When she and her husband realised Izzy was missing on returning home they returned to the motorway, where they recovered Izzy.

“I know the people who were holding the display did not intend for this to happen,” said the woman.

“But I hope that I can save one dog’s life by sharing Izzy’s story and encouraging people to inform their neighbours about their planned events.”

Dawn Cockell, who runs Nailsworth Donkey Sanctuary, said she was alarmed at the size and frequency of displays.

“Over a period of around a week the donkeys have been terrorised by the endless displays taking place around the Nailsworth Valley,” said Dawn.

“Many of our donkeys are nervous at the best of times but the constant bangs have left them petrified and triggered bouts of diarrhoea.

“I am not against people enjoying bonfire night but they need to inform us in advance, which many people do.”

Dozens of other pet owners vented their anger on the SNJ Facebook page after animals including horses and cows were affected.

This week a petition calling for a change in the law on fireworks to include a ban on public use was signed by almost 100,000 people.

In recent years, many more smaller events have been held while fireworks have become more powerful and louder and more easily available.