A plea for pets’ sake, among others, as fireworks season returns

(File photo, fireworks debris at Highland Park Playground)

The 4th of July is exactly one week away, and tomorrow, fireworks go on sale next door in unincorporated North Highline, where they’re still legal despite bans in cities on both sides. Here within the Seattle city limits, fireworks are illegal, but that doesn’t deter users, especially in light of the annual sort-of-non-enforcement alert. Might a plea like this bring a change of heart? It was sent to us by Anna:

In anxiety and dreadful anticipation, I write asking for your help in alerting the public to the fear, dangers, and irresponsibility of our neighborhoods in allowing fireworks to be blown up for “freedom and fun’s sake”! Unfortunately, my pets and small children are already feeling anxious…last year my neighbors disrespected these laws and our dog ran away at 5 pm on the 4th of July. She buried herself in a culvert until 5 am the next morning. I pleaded, screamed, and yelled at my neighbors all night and they disregarded my pleas. I watched one of their trees nearly burn down due to their stupidity and disregard…I am going in the offensive this year and will name them and call them out! Please help by broadcasting safe and sane and a quieter 4th for my family’s freedom! Sincerely, Anna

Meantime, the Seattle Animal Shelter published its annual reminder about how to keep pets safe and ensure you can get yours back if it runs (including a recommendation for the WSB Lost/Found Pets page – we hope you won’t need it, but we’ll be here if you do). If you’re new here – the big Seattle fireworks show is the Summer Fourth on Lake Union, after 10 pm on Independence Day night, visible from many north-facing spots in West Seattle. The usual mid-July Jubilee Days fireworks in White Center are NOT happening this year because work at the usual spot – Steve Cox Memorial Park – has made it unavailable (the carnival IS on, at White Center Heights Elementary instead).

49 Replies to "A plea for pets' sake, among others, as fireworks season returns"

  • Yma June 27, 2018 (9:27 pm)

    Keep your pets safe. Keep them indoors on July 4th. In reality- yes, the various fireworks will happen.

  • 35steve June 28, 2018 (1:29 am)

    To hell with fireworks. Us and the dogs leaving town this year. Sick of the noise and all the trash in parks 

  • momosmom June 28, 2018 (4:40 am)

    And where does one go that does not celebrate the 4th of July? Just wondering.

    • KM June 28, 2018 (8:28 am)


      • Carla Zipp June 28, 2018 (3:35 pm)

        Yes, Canada is a beautiful place to go if you don’t like fireworks! Their independence day is July 1st. Best 4th of July EVER! Highly recommend it!

      • datamuse July 2, 2018 (7:57 pm)

        I’m friends with a couple one of whom has combat-related PTSD. They are indeed going to Vancouver for the 4th.

  • West Seattle Hipster June 28, 2018 (5:28 am)

    Hoping for some heavy rains next Tuesday and Wednesday.

    • John June 28, 2018 (9:48 am)

      I agree!!!! 

    • Ms. Sparkles June 28, 2018 (10:51 am)

      Yes! Torrential down pour please!!  Maybe I can do a rain dance…..

  • Andromeda June 28, 2018 (6:36 am)

    So obnoxious and inconsiderate that people do this when it has such an obviois negative impact on others. Could understand a few set off by some kids but most are grown adults behaving like children…and it goes on for multiple days and nights. 

  • Christine June 28, 2018 (6:44 am)

    Be a responsible pet owner and be proactive not reactive.  Buy a kennel for your dog,  blankets to drape over the kennel,  benadryl works and dogs can take it.  Or leave town for the night.  Yelling at your neighbors isn’t going to stop them,  neither is name calling or going on social media. Also,  have a hose ready just in case.  Be ready to and be prepare.  Sorry this is not a pity reply,  take action to protect your pets.  

  • Coffeedude June 28, 2018 (7:24 am)

    I really wish every year that they can be outlawed.  They make a huge mess, injure people, freak out pets, and cause fires.  How long lawmakers….

    • JC June 28, 2018 (8:58 am)

      It is illegal to set them off inside City of Seattle and now neighboring cities have also made it illegal.  The problem is the Police Dept’s don’t have the resources to crack down on this and people know that, reason they go ahead and break the laws.  

      • john June 28, 2018 (9:50 am)

        The problem is that the police simply don’t care.  I’m amazed at the amount of trash that is left behind by all of those celebrating their freedom……absolutely gross.

        • Concerned June 28, 2018 (12:04 pm)

          The cops not caring is simply not true. They’re following orders and in some parts of the city, there’s more pressing issues like gunfire replacing fireworks for “celebration” 

        • WS Mom June 30, 2018 (1:07 am)

          It’s not the police. It’s the people.  If people cleaned up and cared about others, the police didn’t be so tightly stretched. A well-mannered society wouldn’t need such enforcing.  

  • Alki Dave June 28, 2018 (8:21 am)

    I madly love my pets like I love the rest of my family. My pets don’t like fireworks at all either. But like many other things in this world that we and our pets may not like, fireworks do happen and we can prepare. Especially on July 4 and December 31. On those two days, Anna, take responsibility for your own pets and keep them inside so they won’t panic, pee on the floor, run away. Turn on some noise like a fan to distract them – it works well. And before “outing” your neighbors by broadcasting their personal information, and before screaming at them across the fence, think about how you will want them to react when you do something they do not like (illegal or not). So this 4th of July, smoke a joint, mix up some gin & tonics or open that box of red wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion and relax, enjoy. Your neighbors don’t want to hurt you or your pets in any way. It’s just a celebration. All of our dogs and cats will be fine and live long lives, even with occassional scary loud sounds.

    • Delridge Joe June 28, 2018 (8:53 am)

      I personally don’t like the street fireworks I’ve seen to many close calls but I love your outlook. It’s real. You can be my neighbor any day. 

    • John June 28, 2018 (10:53 am)

      Thank You, Dave!  I, for one, concur.  There are some fireworks, and people lighting off fireworks that are very irresponsible.  But painting with a broad brush only makes things worse.Living near Alki, our 4th is very very loud.  I’m not a fan of the 2AM fireworks off Alki (almost year ’round), but on the 4th we make sure our dog is in the quietest room in our house, with comfy blankets, and something to drown out the noise (a radio, fan, etc.).  

    • Ms. Sparkles June 28, 2018 (10:59 am)

      It’s a stupid way to celebrate.  Back yard fireworks are just minor explosions and noise, there’s no artistry.  If Anna’s neighbors insist on this sophomoric form of “celebration” I think she should call them out – it’s selfish and obnoxious, and people who act that way need to be called out.  Telling her to “smoke a joint, …” because her “neighbors don’t want to hurt (her) or (her) pets…” is dismissive and indicative of the same clueless attitude as her neighbors – your lack of intent to harm (while ignoring the potential for harm you’ve been made aware of) doesn’t diminish the harm.  

    • Scott June 28, 2018 (1:43 pm)

      I’m sorry but all the prep in the world isn’t going to stop pets from hearing fireworks. They can hear things from over a mile away.  Putting them downstairs or adding noise doesn’t help. 

      • John June 29, 2018 (5:01 pm)

        Actually Scott, it does help.  When our dog really hears fireworks, he gets very skiddish, tucks his tail and hides.  But when we tuck him away in a quiet part of the house and put the noise on, we check on him, and he’s always doing fine.  A night and day difference in his well-being.

  • Lisa June 28, 2018 (8:22 am)

    Thank you for bringing this important matter up. I live in unincorporated king county just outside of Burien and the Seattle borders, where you can set off fireworks on the 4th from 9am to midnight. So, all day we have the noise. My cats hide at the back of a wardrobe and under the bed all day. I spend the day trying to keep them calm. The 4th has become my most dreaded day of the year. There are also people with PTSD who have trouble with the sounds. What is the point of letting fireworks off during the day? I don’t want to be a kill joy, but I would certainly vote for fireworks to be banned in unincorporated king county. 

  • IAmNotSpartacus June 28, 2018 (8:53 am)

    “On those two days…” Ha! If only it were just two days a year! 

  • IAmNotSpartacus June 28, 2018 (8:55 am)

    Once again, the attitude of “It’s fun for ME, it’s all about ME, and I don’t care if it bothers anyone else!” comes to the surface. Man, if I enjoyed doing something that terrified animals and babies, even for one day, I’d have a moment’s compassion and think about others, and not just myself.

    • Thomas Jefferson June 28, 2018 (1:23 pm)

      This a little melodramatic…much like the letter in the post. First, it’s one of the oldest traditions in our country (not a ME attitude). Some people truly enjoy celebrating the designated birth of the USA.Second, a lot of little kids love fireworks. It’s not the universal source of terror you describe it as.Third, this can be managed with pets. Put them in a more insulated room and drown out the sound. There are also a lot of pets that aren’t bothered by it at all, like my dog. So it’s not the universal source of terror for pets you describe it as.the irony is that your post has more of a “me” theme than the folks celebrating Independence Day.of course, it’s ridiculous if people don’t clean up after themselves, use them safely, or do it at ridiculous hours. if it bothers you, I’d talk to your neighbors in a reasonable way and see if you can reach some middle ground. The angry, melodramatic stuff never solves the situation.

  • 22blades June 28, 2018 (9:08 am)

    One thing you can do is start with talking to your neighbors. I don’t like it but I understand fireworks. What I don’t appreciate are errant bottle rockets and M80’s in the middle of a residential street. Last time I looked on the roof, it was littered with spent bottle rockets. As for M80’s; you have no business setting off the Richter Scale within city limits.One other thing… Harborview Burn Unit. Nuf’ said.

  • West Seattle Hipster June 28, 2018 (9:08 am)

    Anyone who condones or engages in lighting off aerial explosives in densely packed neighborhoods is dense.

  • anonyme June 28, 2018 (9:51 am)

    I think if police started handing out even a few tickets, it would make a big difference.  As is stands, SPD announces on TV that there will be no enforcement.  I’ve never lived in a city where the the police department publicly bragged about refusing to enforce laws that protect citizens.

    • heartless June 28, 2018 (1:09 pm)

      I often wonder why more police forces don’t have a tiered system of employees–some that go out and deal with serious crimes, get paid better, etc., and others that deal with more of these nuisance issues like fireworks and loud pipes.  They sorta do that with normal cops versus parking enforcement, but it seems like they could extend that to issues like fireworks…  I mean, the fine is probably hefty enough to help pay for a lot of cleanup and overtime for enforcement, if they ever decide to enforce.

      • Andromeda June 28, 2018 (2:52 pm)

        Agree – I’ve often thought the same. There should be a dedicated unit to enforce quality of life concerns like this. 

      • newnative June 28, 2018 (3:53 pm)

        They should redirect funding/budgetary from new buildings to this type of enforcement. 

  • Helpful June 28, 2018 (11:03 am)

    If there was a way that dogs only barked 2 days out of the year…

    • SRSLY June 28, 2018 (2:15 pm)

      If there was a way people could only be snarky jerks in the comments 2 days out of the year… 

  • HP Neighbor June 28, 2018 (11:37 am)

    First a THANK YOU to the neighbors who have helped clean up the park and school for the past 8 years. Its been amazing to see the community helping the community. The family who has cleaned up at the elementary school and park for the past 8-10 years will be out of town. Extra volunteers will be needed for debris removal on July 5th. Parks garbage trucks have came previous years early to assess how many trucks they will need to empty the dumpsters. Bring your brooms, pickers and garbage bags. Usually takes 2-3 hours to clean up. It takes a community to make a community. 

  • Tim June 28, 2018 (12:24 pm)

    I enjoy the fireworks on the 4th, and for the Seahawks games. I sympathize with pet owners, but dealing with fireworks when they happen is one of the responsibilities of pet ownership, just like dealing with traffic, thunder, and mail delivery is. People have been lighting fireworks on the 4th for a long time. This is not some brand new thing that pet owners didn’t know about.

  • anon June 28, 2018 (12:53 pm)

    When I was 10 I was in my grandparents backyard and the neighbors were shooting off fireworks next door. One of their fireworks landed on my bare leg and exploded.  I spent the 4th of July in the emergency room having my burns treated. My feeling is  that if you want o light off fireworks at the expense of your neighbors you either 1. don’t think this sort of thing can happen to your neighbors as a consequence of you lighting off fireworks or 2. you just don’t care. Below is the incident that happened in 2016 when someone burned downed their neighbors home with fireworks. I remember seeing a follow up with the woman and she said after that happened they had to move because they were so vilified and the woman whose home burned down didn’t move back in until 2 years later. I believe there was also a fire sparked in Magnolia last year. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/07/04/teens-fireworks-burn-down-neighbors-washington-home-investigators-say.html

  • PARENT June 28, 2018 (12:59 pm)

      Has anyone brought up the fact that they are ILLEGAL??  But like a lot of laws in the city, they are ignored and folks are allowed to do what they please.  

  • Laughing Out Load June 28, 2018 (1:29 pm)

    West Seattle is really full of old fogies….for goodness sake people it’s the 4th of July, are you unable to have fun!? Put your dog inside no one cares about him, put your kids to bed – same comment as for the dogs.  It’s fireworks – I’d rather the cops focus on keeping us safe rather than enforcing something that makes the 4th of July THE 4TH OF JULY! Calm down folks and enjoy and celebrate AMERICA!

    • West Seattle Hipster June 28, 2018 (6:57 pm)

      There is not much to celebrate about America right now.  

    • Scott June 30, 2018 (8:57 am)

      I would say enforcing the laws that are on the books is something they should do. And if setting off fireworks in the city limits is against the law then that should be enforced.  You might think selective law enforcement is good, but when you need them for something and you might not think it is funny. 

  • Friendly Earth June 28, 2018 (2:13 pm)

    Only if the fireworks being set off are of the illegal variety then report them, if not then close all doors and windows and deal with it. My dogs don’t have a problem with the noise but I still put them on a leash when they got to go outside.

    You can go visit your vet for some meds to calm or sedate them. Ask for a couple extra so you can take them and chill the heck out.

    • WSB June 28, 2018 (2:23 pm)

      Taking medicine made for pets wouldn’t be healthy. That aside, in Seattle, ALL fireworks are of the “illegal variety.”

      • Helpful June 28, 2018 (3:44 pm)

        They sell fireworks at costco and Safeway and bartells. Whistling petes, and sno cones, and sparklers, and lotus flowers.. Those safe and sane fireworks aren’t illegal in Seattle, are they?

        • WSB June 28, 2018 (4:19 pm)

          Yes, about the only thing not illegal are those little mock champagne bottles where you pull a string and streamers pop out. If you’ve seen what you mention at any of those stores, they weren’t in the city limits.

  • jissy June 28, 2018 (4:52 pm)

    LISA:  I sympathize — I have commercial property in White Center and we have to hire security on the 4th to monitor & protect our building as 3 years ago there were people using it & the parking lot next door for their personal fireworks show and lit our bushes on fire (2nd fire at the property due to fireworks on the 4th Holiday ).  I saw it go up and luckily the fire dept. came quick even after my husband got put ON HOLD by 911.   I saw this on the White Center site but somehow I’m not convinced anything will change.http://whitecenternow.c om/2018/06/26/almost-fireworks-season-county-councilmembers-announce-4th-of-july-patrols/

  • Lisa M June 28, 2018 (10:01 pm)

    Here’s a tip that might help some of you, for some reason my dog does just fine in the car driving around during the worst of the fireworks. I would literally go for a drive for an hour or so when he was younger (old and mostly deaf now) and he had no reaction, even if we could hear some fireworks. I have also found that window air conditioners drown out most of the sounds, you can just run the fan if you don’t need the cooler air. Other than that, very loud symphonic music, fans, hanging out in the basement, benedryl – all have helped me in the past!Oh and I totally agree the neighborhood fireworks are inconsiderate and un-necessary to celebrate our freedoms. There are grand public firework displays if you feel its an important part of the holiday and BBQ’s, sparklers, flags, etc are other ways to celebrate and just as fun!!

  • Thomas Jefferson June 28, 2018 (10:04 pm)

    What is it about West Seattle and their dogs? It’s an unhealthy relationship. There are more food options for dogs than people around here. Pet stores and pizza joints.  That West Seattle for you.

  • anonyme June 29, 2018 (6:47 am)

    Another precaution that I doubt most people think about is the necessity of covering vegetable patches and play areas.  Heavy fireworks of the variety we see in Arbor Heights contains toxic, highly carcinogenic,  heavy metal dust that rains down and blankets areas where kids, pets, and other living things come in contact with it.  Was outside with a neighbor a few years ago, and we were driven inside due to a heavy ‘rain’ of burning particulate matter falling from the sky and burning our skin.  I’d be really careful about washing exposed edibles.  However, these toxins persist in the soil for many, many years, so mere washing will probably not completely eliminate the danger.  “Safe & sane” is a misnomer that applies equally to both fireworks and the idiots who think that setting off bombs is a great way to celebrate America.  Obeying the law and being a conscientious citizen are much better ways.  What a shame that Independence Day has become a holiday dominated by losers.

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