Independence Day is next week and fireworks in Marion and in other areas have been selling for a few weeks now. That means the snap, crackle and boom of the pyrotechnics are already filling the air.
But inside the City of Marion, residents are urged to follow the municipal ordinance on use of fireworks. The law inside the city restricts the use of fireworks to between the hours of noon and 10 p.m. June 27 through July 5, save the Fourth of July when they can be used an hour later. It is also illegal to shoot them within 200 feet of any structure, vehicle or person.
There is no such ordinance in the county, according to Judge-Executive Perry Newcom, so restrictions on fireworks are limited to being a courteous neighbor and responsible adult.
Three years ago, Marion City Council repealed an ordinance from the early 1970s that prohibited the use of fireworks in the city. Lifting the restriction has offered residents reason to celebrate around the holiday, but it has been less than music to the ears of neighbors awakened by booms late into the night and into the wee hours of morning.
In Marion, the penalty for violating the fireworks ordinance can be up to $250, per Kentucky statute. But City Administrator Adam Ledford, who has been in local government for many years in Sac City, Iowa, and in Marion since December, said authorities responding to complaints or observing fireworks outside of prescribed times, regardless of the location, typically offer a wide berth to violators before issuing citations.
"In most cases, regardless of which enforcement practice is used, the end result is a verbal warning, which would be why you have seen little in the way of formal action," he said. "I am satisfied with Marion’s ordinance from the standpoint it seems to be consistent with what I always assumed was the normal approach or practice."
Boom Boom and Pets
Crittenden County Animal Control Officer Timmy Todd says this time of year always makes his job a little tougher. He advises pet owners to keep careful watch over their animals, particularly dogs, whose keen hearing makes them easily susceptible to being frightened by fireworks and running away. He said the animal shelter received almost 30 calls about missing dogs around this time last year.
“A lot of them are just afraid of that boom, boom,” he said, adding that owners should bring their pets inside or keep them penned or on a leash when the fireworks start to prevent them from fleeing.