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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Fireworks affects animals
To the editor:
I’m happy and relieved to see that the number of folks concerned about the use of personal fireworks is growing. There are a number of reasons why they are dangerous and toxic to us, our pets, wildlife and the environment.
I won’t go into all of those here. What I’m most deeply concerned about are illegal “mortar-type” fireworks that folks bring every year to the island, which seems to intensify more each year. Our area (in the general vicinity of East Harbor and Goss Lake Road) turns into a few days of what can only be described as “bombing and shelling.” If you haven’t experienced it yourself, you can’t imagine what it’s like, unless perhaps you’re a veteran with PTSD. It is like being under siege.
While the constant bombardment is extremely disturbing and unsettling to us and our pets, the ones I worry about most are the wild animals and birds, who all have babies this time of year. I cannot begin to imagine how terrifying it must be for them to have their forest home filled with huge explosions all around, all night long, for two or more nights in a row.
This time of year, our yard is absolutely filled with rabbits, as I’m sure most peoples’ are. Last year, after the early July explosives, I noticed that there were no rabbits — none at all — in our yard for a couple of days afterwards. I’m guessing they were cowering in their dens.
This year I’m going to pay closer attention to see what other animals and birds may be affected, as noted by their lack of noticeable presence. I encourage others to do the same. Just take a few moments to look around and to listen in the morning. Do you see the deer, squirrels, bunnies and other critters out and about as usual? Do you hear the birds singing and chattering away in the trees like always?
I learned recently that Whidbey Island is a nationally-certified wildlife habitat. That says to me that we must do what we can to make this a safe place for wild creatures. The sheriff’s department seems to lack the person-power to enforce sanctions against these fireworks that are known to be illegal except in certain areas of the state. I hope we all do everything we can to discourage folks from bringing illegal mortar fireworks to the island, and to help raise awareness about the effects of these on all of life and the environment. Perhaps if we choose to look at it from that point of view, we will agree that these kinds of explosives have no place on our lovely island.