City Attorney Mike Feuer said Thursday his office is scouring the internet for sales of illegal fireworks in the Los Angeles area and reminded people that pyrotechnic devices can have negative effects on pets, military veterans and other vulnerable populations.
“If you or your family are feeling under siege by illegal fireworks right now, you’re not alone,” Feuer said. “It seems like they’re exploding in every neighborhood of our city. I hear them every night. Nobody knows why this year of all years this phenomenon is occurring, not just across the city of Los Angeles but across the nation.”
All fireworks in Los Angeles are illegal for sale or purchase, Feuer said, and using or selling them could result in a citation from the Los Angeles Police Department or a misdemeanor charge carrying a fine of up to $1,000 and potential six-month jail term.
“Every year, thousands and thousands of people are hospitalized because of illegal fireworks, and they’re losing fingers and arms and legs and their sight,” the city attorney said. “So it’s a very serious public health issue, and of course this year the coronavirus creates all kinds of new issues because emergency rooms are crowded with people suffering from COVID-19 and other illnesses.”
Feuer said his office is sending out cease-and-desist orders on illegal internet sales of fireworks in Los Angeles.
“Veterans with post-traumatic stress (disorder) are very adversely affected by the random setting off of fireworks,” Feuer said. “In past years, people with PTSD could anticipate the Fourth of July, they could prepare for it.”
Feuer also said children with special needs can be affected by random explosions they’re not expecting.
The city attorney said his office is already taking on a few cases related to the sales of illegal fireworks, but he said he could not yet discuss the details.
Neighborhood prosecutors will also be pushing the message for people to refrain from buying illegal fireworks, and a public service announcement will be released soon on the City Attorney’s Office social media platforms.
Annette Ramirez, Los Angeles Animal Services’ field operations director, said fireworks can scare dogs to the point where they escape their house or yard.
“Even if your pet doesn’t seem like it’s upset by the fireworks, they can still be harmed,” Ramirez said, adding that ingesting fireworks can be fatal to them.
“If your pet is has to be outdoors, please try to keep your gates closed and check to make sure that they’re in proper working order,” she said.
Ramirez said people should make sure they have their pet’s registration information updated, as more fireworks are likely to be set off as the Fourth of July gets closer.
If people have illegal fireworks, they can turn them in without penalty to the LAPD, Feuer said. To report illegal fireworks, people can go to complaint.lacity.org/complaints/fireworks or call LAPD at 1-877-275-5273.
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