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Letter to the Editor: Fireworks not fun for everyone

To the editor:

I wrote about fireworks after this past New Years Eve, and here I am again, unfortunately. Something has got to change.

First, we like to see beautiful fireworks as much as anyone, but not when they’re happening so close that they’re endangering our horses. Our horses are like children to us.

Husband and I had a stressful weekend, to put it mildly. We knew fireworks were coming. This past New Years Eve, we left our horses out in the pasture, as we always did, but they panicked and ran continuously from 9:30 until after midnight. We couldn’t catch them; they were like stampeding cattle. They both got sick, ran off weight, one with a cold, one with diarrhea.

This time, per our vet’s advice, we put them in their stalls in the barn. We got a sedative drug from the vet, we ran four fans, a radio, and closed the windows. We gave them their drug. At 9:30 or so, all hell broke loose. Huge booms were coming from the neighbor that shoots the fireworks close to our barn, including illegal ones. We are aware of which fireworks are illegal. They actually shook the ground and our barn. Even though the horses were drugged, it didn’t stop them from going crazy. They circled and spun around in the stalls, while pooping loose stool almost continuously, (sorry for the details but it must be told), sometimes banging up against the stall doors. They were out of control and we could not calm them down. It was painful to watch. We were both so angry. I went outside and yelled over there “Please stop!” as loud as I could, in between explosions. It didn’t stop, so I did what I had to do. I called 911. A little after 10, maybe 10:15 or so, the booms stopped. Found out later a deputy did go there, but right after the fireworks stopped.  She talked to the person. So we had babysat the horses from 8-11:30. We were totally washed out. It took the horses a while to calm down. They kept looking around, still somewhat scared.

Next day, Sunday, I called the vet and went to get a stronger drug because we knew fireworks were coming Sunday night. At 9 p.m. we gave them their drug. Shortly after, fireworks started, this time from everywhere. Lots of big booms, but from much further away. The neighbor did shoot some but not the big ones that shook the barn. If they had done that, there may have been a repeat of the night before. Our horses were obviously sedated by this time and only circled the stalls a couple of times and pooped not as much. Tons of fireworks from around the area but like I said, not up close. We sat up there with them over four hours, until the fireworks slacked off, to make sure they were OK.

It was a very grueling, stressful two nights and thank goodness, it’s over. I do not want to ever spend another weekend like it. So, while the folks shooting these big fireworks are having fun, people like us, with horses and other animals, are suffering.

Something has to change. The main thing is the lawmakers and enforcers must start holding these people accountable that are shooting the fireworks that are against the law in NC. Otherwise, it’s going to get worse. What good are laws if they’re not enforced? A deputy at the Davie County Sheriff’s Department did tell me that if fireworks or guns or whatever cause harm to a neighbor or the neighbor’s animals, the offender can be prosecuted.

People need to be made aware that in rural areas, there are folks with horses, cows, sheep, dogs, etc. and these animals are extremely frightened by fireworks. They get upset.  Horses can colic and die from being this stressed. Not to mention the anxiety it causes some folks and veterans who are suffering from PTSD. It sounded like a battle going on around here both nights. I guess some people just don’t care. People need to have respect and compassion for their neighbors, both people and animals. I don’t bother anybody; why should they bother me and my animals?

  Believe me, if you witnessed our horses panicking in their stalls, I would hope that you would think twice about shooting these fireworks.  And vet bills can be expensive.  It’s a sad time when we have to resort to drugs for our animals during fireworks.

We’ve lived here 26 years.  It didn’t use to be like this.  We didn’t have much trouble with the fireworks until they started doing them TOO CLOSE to our barn and doing the powerful illegal ones.  These are worrisome times.

Please people, be mindful of your neighbors and their animals.  Thank you.

Suzanne Dorsey, Advance