Don’t forget to take care of your pets tomorrow

The sound of fireworks can send dogs and cats into a panicked mania. (Image: Thinkstock)
The sound of fireworks can send dogs and cats into a panicked mania. (Image: Thinkstock)

By Britt Thorson, KOMO News

The Fourth of July is one of the most exciting days of the year for Americans, and simultaneously the most terrifying for their animals. If you’ve ever seen a dog in the midst of a fireworks display, you’d know how sad and scared for their lives the poor animals really are.

We love our pets, and we want to make this day as bearable as possible for them. Here are a couple tips from the Seattle Humane Society on how to get your pet past the trauma of the Fourth.

Keep them indoors. During the fireworks display, keep your pets in a room with no windows. This will both buffer the outdoor sounds for them, and keep them feeling safe in a confined place. Make sure to have plenty of food and water available for them while you’re out frolicking!

Create a calming environment. Hopefully the enclosed room will be calming, but you can help even more by putting your pet’s favorite toys around them. You can even go as far as putting a shirt or blanket with your smell next to them. Put on soothing music, close the blinds and keep the room as quiet as possible.

Keep them away from fireworks. This should be a no-brainer, but keep your pets far away from any fireworks. Even if they aren’t scared by the sounds and are being let roam the house and backyard during the festivities, fireworks are just as dangerous to animals as they are to us.

Update identification. The Humane Society says that the single biggest risk this holiday is pets getting scared, running away, and becoming lost. It is not uncommon for pets kept inside to be so panicked by the sound of fireworks that they break through glass windows to get out. Double-check your pets are microchipped, and have their correct ID tags on.

Our pets are naturally not going to love this day as much as we do – but we can definitely make sure they don’t hate it!

Fireworks laws meant to keep people safe on July 4

Sales of fireworks have already begun at Boom City on the Tulalip Reservation. Other fireworks stands will begin sales off the reservation starting June 28.— image credit: Brandon Adam
Sales of fireworks have already begun at Boom City on the Tulalip Reservation. Other fireworks stands will begin sales off the reservation starting June 28.
— image credit: Brandon Adam


By Kirk Boxleitner, Arlington Times

While Arlington and Marysville encourage citizens to celebrate the Fourth of July, the cities’ police officers and firefighters want to make sure those who use fireworks do so safely and legally.

Arlington allows fireworks to be sold from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, through Friday, July 4, whereas Marysville allows sales from noon to 11 p.m. on June 28 and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Sunday, June 29, through July 4.

Marysville residents may discharge fireworks only between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. July 4, while Arlington residents may discharge fireworks between 9 a.m. and midnight that day. Neither city allows residents to discharge fireworks any other day, outside of New Year’s, and both cities limit their legal fireworks to Class C, or “safe and sane” fireworks.

Native American reservations may sell fireworks that do not conform to those laws, but such fireworks must be detonated on reservation lands. The fireworks stands of “Boom City” on the Tulalip Tribal Reservation provide a lighting and detonation area on site for customers. Security personnel will monitor the area to ensure that children age 12 and younger have adults age 18 or older present.

Fireworks that are illegal off tribal lands include bottle rockets, skyrockets, missiles and firecrackers. M-80s and larger, as well as dynamite and any improvised, homemade or altered explosive devices, such as tennis balls, sparkler bombs or cherry bombs, are likewise illegal. Anyone who possesses or uses such illegal devices can expect to be charged with a felony.

State Fire Marshal Charles Duffy is reminding Washingtonians that the purchase of fireworks over the Internet is illegal. Fireworks must be purchased from a licensed retail fireworks stand during the legal sales period.

In its online list of tips to the public, the Arlington Fire Department noted that illegal fireworks are often unpackaged and wrapped in plain brown paper, and warned against purchasing any fireworks that are not in their original packages, or are in opened or damaged packages.

Marysville police are taking enforcement seriously. Up until two years ago, they mainly issued warnings to those caught with illegal fireworks. “Warnings weren’t effective in ending the activity,” Marysville Police Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux said. “Anyone caught with illegal fireworks will be cited, and the fireworks will be confiscated.”

Under state law, possession or discharge of illegal fireworks is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to a year in jail and a mandatory court appearance.

City Public Information Officer Doug Buell pointed out that Marysville police can issue criminal citations to violators or civil citations, the latter similar to a speeding ticket. Lamoureux explained that such civil infractions enable officers to spend more time on the streets responding to fireworks complaints, and less time processing paperwork.

He added that Marysville police plan to have more officers on duty during this year’s Fourth of July, and emphasized that the safety of individuals and property is of utmost concern. “We have seen too many instances elsewhere and over the years where celebrations quickly turned to tragedy for families, especially where children and teenagers are involved,” Lamoureux said.

Although Arlington Fire Deputy Chief Tom Cooper believes that Arlington police and fire personnel are more likely to try and educate those using illegal fireworks, he warned that they will likely be more proactive and visible in various neighborhoods that have experienced problems with fireworks before.

“As much as the Fourth of July is a patriotic holiday, there are more than a few veterans who have a hard time dealing with fireworks because of their experiences,” Cooper said. “If people limit their fireworks activities to the Fourth, it allows those folks, as well as those who own easily spooked pets, to make arrangements.”

Officials in both cities urge Fourth of July revelers to clean up their fireworks. “After you light it up, clean it up,” Buell said. “Discarded fireworks the days after the Fourth are a neighborhood and community eyesore, and smoldering fireworks can still pose a fire hazard if you don’t get rid of them properly.”

To dispose of spent fireworks properly, the Arlington Fire Department advises that people let their used fireworks lay on the ground until they are cool, and there is no chance that any residue will reignite, after which they should place all the expended firework cases in a bucket of water. Those who use fireworks should keep a bucket of water or a running water hose close by.

“We want people in our community to enjoy fireworks and the Fourth, but we want them to do so safely, which is why we’re encouraging them to attend public fireworks shows, like the one at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club,” Cooper said. “Those shows are professional, well-organized, safe and, at least in Arlington, free.”

Cooper cautioned against treating certain fireworks dismissively because of their size. “People tend to think that smaller fireworks are less dangerous,” Cooper said. “That’s how they get injured, from standing too close to those fireworks, or over them, or even by holding bottle rockets with their bare hands.”