Héðinn Sverrisson, farmer at Geiteyjarströnd I by lake Mývatn in northeast Iceland, lost three sheep and one horse which bolted as a result of the noise of fireworks at New Year’s. The sheep ran onto a highway and were hit by a car while the horse fell into a swamp and drowned.
Archive photo by Benedikt Jóhannesson.
Héðinn told ruv.is that all domestic animals at his farm were in stables on New Year’s Eve apart from 60 sheep who were kept in a fence by the sheep cot.
He didn’t expect any fireworks at his farm but a tour guide showing travelers around the Mývatn area set off fireworks next to the sheep. They were frightened, ran out of the fence and onto the road where they were hit by a car.
Héðinn also had a two-year-old horse at the farm Grímsstaðir along with other horses. They were accommodated in a stable on New Year’s Eve to spare them from the explosions but were let out again on New Year’s Day.
That evening someone set off fireworks again, causing the young horse to run off, get stuck in the swamp and drown.
Héðinn said it is difficult to anticipate fireworks that are set off at other occasions than New Year’s Eve. Nowadays the explosions seem to continue throughout the first week of January.
On Thursday morning a horse had to be put down after being hit by a car on Laugarvatnsvegur in south Iceland after a herd of horses took off when fireworks were set off by a summer house nearby.
The police remind people to maintain laws and regulations on fireworks and to consider animals—it is prohibited to set off fireworks around stables.