• Susan Poirier

Michigan’s fireworks law is harming people, pets, and wildlife

Updated: Jan 7


Since the Fireworks Safety Act 256 became law in 2011, our favorite summer holiday has become a nightmare for many Michigan citizens. This deceptively-named law allows the sale of powerful explosives such as firecrackers and professional-grade devices. Cities and subdivisions are no place for untrained, unlicensed people to set these fireworks off.

What has always been a family tradition of taking your kids to a professional and safe fireworks display together has become a ‘free-for-all’ during the three days surrounding July 4th. Many people who are financially-able and can get time off work are now just leaving their homes during the holiday.

Pet owners dread fireworks because of the pain it causes both dogs and cats, who have much more acute hearing than humans. We’re being forced to choose between boarding our dogs (and the cost of doing that), leaving our own homes, or having our pets suffer for the multiple days and nights that this continues in our neighborhoods.

Michigan citizens are being victimized in their own homes, which should provide safety and sanctuary from a stressful world. Veterans, those with PTSD, and adults and children with autism suffer from the intense explosive noise often described as a ‘war zone.’

Fireworks are set off in subdivisions where homes are often within twenty-five feet, and local government has been left with little to no ability to modify laws in densely-populated neighborhoods.

There is a high risk of serious personal injury. Children are at especially high risk—it’s not safe to walk or ride bikes on the sidewalk in my subdivision because fireworks are being shot off in all directions from driveways. And when adults are drinking alcohol, the risks of accidents are much higher. There’s the risk of fire and property damage, which is why professional fireworks shows have always had the fire department standing by in case of emergency.

Veterinarians know the Fourth is a distressful time for dogs and cats. My dog will have at least three days’ of panic attacks, which means he will hunker-down in a bathroom frightened to go outside once the fireworks begin.

What about wildlife? Fireworks pose a real threat to backyard birds at the most critical time in their life cycle when they’re trying to successfully raise their young. The Fourth of July is right in the middle of nesting season for birds. Fireworks and extreme noise in close proximity to nesting birds and mammals can cause parents to abandon their young, and chicks that fledge the nest prematurely will die.

The Fireworks Safety Act in Michigan is failed legislation that is affecting the safety and quality of life in our homes and neighborhoods and harming pets and wildlife. It’s time for this to change. There are fireworks bills that have been introduced in the State House of Representatives that need to be heard. Please call your state representatives immediately to share your comments.

Link to find your Michigan representatives: http://house.michigan.gov/mhrpublic/frmFindaRep.aspx


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