PTSD, Scared Shitless Pets and Other Things to Know About 4th of July Fireworks
The Fourth of July is a fun holiday, and a great time for friends and family to get together and celebrate. But if you live in a city like Houston, it's also time for fireworks to appear on the horizon again.
Photo by Romana Klee These things are dangerous.
Besides, who doesn't like a horizon full of cool exploding bottle rockets or Roman candles? Well, if you live in a densely populated neighborhood inside the city, the answer is probably "you." There's something disconcerting about hearing random popping sounds in your neighborhood under the best of circumstances, and the realization that neighborhood kids are launching fiery exploding projectiles a few yards from your house is not generally a happy one to contemplate.
So, a few things to consider about fireworks in the city:
6. Fireworks are illegal to use inside the city.
We all know that it's illegal to shoot off fireworks inside the city limits, but lots of people do it anyway. I guess either they're irresponsible idiots or consider it to be one of those minor violations like driving 10 mph over the speed limit. However, Harris County doesn't screw around when it comes to fireworks. According to the city's website, people caught discharging or possessing them inside the city limits can be fined anywhere from $500 to $2,000 for each individual firework. They no longer give warnings, either, and parents or guardians of a minor caught with them will receive the fine even if they were unaware the kid had them.
Getting caught with a pocketful of Black Cats could cost a person more than a mortgage payment, something to keep in mind when lighting up a string of fire crackers in your urban back yard.
5. More pets go missing on the 4th of July than any other day of the year.
Animal Control officials across the country see a bump of 30% in lost pets between July 4th and 6th, the highest of the year. The biggest culprit in this sad statistic is (you guessed it) fireworks.
The sound of them going off is extremely upsetting to dogs and cats, and a lot of pets escape their homes in a desperate bid to get away from the scary explosions. Keeping in mind that only a small fraction of these lost pets are recovered by their owners, and that many of them end up being euthanized, it sort of takes the cheeriness out of a celebratory volley of bottle rockets fired from the back yard.
Among the suggestions to keep your pets safe and calmer while irresponsible yahoos a few streets over try to illegally re-enact D-Day is to keep your pets inside the whole time, try to make them feel safe and give them lots of attention, act normally (if you're jumpy, your pets will be, too) and try to drown out the noise. Keeping a dog or cat outside while fireworks are likely to be used by some moron down the street is a recipe for sadness.