Summit County sheriff says zero tolerance on fireworks ban |

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Summit County sheriff says zero tolerance on fireworks ban


People attending local fireworks displays shouldn’t bring their dogs unless they are conditioned to loud noises, said Don Drogsvold, owner and dog trainer at the Dillon Dog Den.

Make sure your pets stay inside, so they don’t bolt and become lost or get hit by cars in the extra holiday traffic.

Otherwise, Drogsvold said, “all of a sudden the fireworks go off, and now we have an escape artist running for their life.”

Resist the urge to console your pet.

“They have no idea what you’re saying. All they know is they’re getting a ton of attention for exhibiting that behavior,” he said, adding that dogs are “visual animals, and they’re watching every move you make.”

Instead, you can smile, play with them and act extra happy.

For animals with phobias of loud noises, try closing windows and turning up music, the TV or a fan to drown out the fireworks. A kennel can be a safe place for pets that are used to them, and owners can add an exciting toy and put a blanket over the kennel to simulate a den.

Lesley Hall, director of the Summit County Animal Control and Shelter, said owners of pets that get so anxious they destroy things can talk to their veterinarian about calming medication.

Though the animal shelter will be closed Friday, anyone missing a pet should call the shelter at (970) 668-3230 and leave a message. An animal control officer will be working normal daytime hours and checking messages.

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office will have a zero-tolerance policy for people violating the statewide fireworks ban this holiday weekend.

“Spending the Fourth of July in jail, I’ve heard, sucks,” said Sheriff John Minor Tuesday. “If you can’t bail out, you don’t get to see the judge until Monday, and it’s a long weekend.”

According to state law, use of fireworks that fly or explode is punishable by fines. That includes bottle rockets and Roman candles.

“The best way to explain that is if it leaves the ground or goes bang, it’s illegal in Colorado,” Minor said.

He added that people often disregard the law, and just like Wyoming residents come to Colorado to buy marijuana, Coloradans go to Wyoming to buy fireworks. Across the state border in Wyoming, the roads are lined with fireworks stands.

Some fireworks, like sparklers, toy cats and fountains, are legal and can be found for sale in Summit County.

But even those can start fires, said Jeff Berino, deputy chief of Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue.

“Sparklers burn at over 1,600 degrees,” he said. “We really discourage it, even the legal ones.”

The wildfire danger in Summit is currently at moderate, Berino said, “but it’s creeping up.”

Minor said the risk and potential damage in Summit is different from wildfires on the Front Range.

“Our community is in a forest,” he said. “These things are a terrifying phenomenon. We’ve just got to be cautious over here in the High Country.”

Anyone who causes a wildfire is liable for property damage, which Minor said could add up to millions of dollars. Neighbors should talk to one another, he said. “It’s their property too.”

Commercial fireworks displays, which have firefighters standing by, are exempt from the ban. Minor describe the Summit County shows as “very, very professionally done.”

With four commercial operations in Summit County this weekend, Berino said people should “leave the fireworks shows to the professionals.”