A 3rd of July I Will Never Forget; Dog is Killed as Fireworks Explode E-mail
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Written by Tony Aiello   
Sunday, 26 July 2009 16:16


The following is a re-post from a story I wrote in 2009 after witnessing a dog get killed on July 3rd of that year at La Mirada Blvd and Foster Road after the very young dog ran frightened from the fireworks show at Regional Park after the family had brought the dog to the event earlier in the day.

The La Mirada Blog is recommending dogs not to be taken to the annual celebration at Regional Park.

We all know parks and dogs go hand in hand, but this is one exception. The crowd is to large and dogs simply don't like fireworks.

Please do NOT take your dogs to Regional Park for the 3rd of July celebration, there are simply to many things that can wrong.

If you are worried about your dog staying home alone, you simply can't go the event.

Read this story I wrote six years ago, and I hope it makes you and others aware of the increased possibility of mishap.

Story originally written July 26th, 2009

Frustration, Joy, Despair; All in One Day

La Mirada~A friend, we'll call him MP, recently told me, "Tony, you have to write a La Mirada book someday."

Well, add another chapter.

An opinion piece, me? I don't do these any more, but I absolutely feel compelled in this instance.

Finally after over two weeks, I am able to write this story. As I said, over two weeks has passed now, and this year's 3rd of July event is now fading into distant memory for most.

Not so fast.

I worked the Kiwanis of La Mirada booth during the middle of the day; helping the club barbeque and prepare tri-tip sandwiches to be sold to the crowd. It was the most pleasant part of my day. What a line we had around 6 p.m. What a blast!

I had some interesting thoughts and observations throughout the day, but one that kept bothering me was the fact that many people had brought their dogs to this event.

People, I know dogs love parks, but this is simply an event you cannot bring your dogs to. During the day maybe, but still, there were way too many people to have your dog there, even during the day. And I had to wonder how many of those people were going to bring their dogs home for the evening. This worried me.

As a general rule dogs don't like fireworks. This is common knowledge. Sure, there are some exceptions, but for the most part they dislike fireworks and loud noises. In fact special precautions must be taken for your dog during the 4th of July, even at your own home. Guess what? You can't have both. You can't own a dog and go see the fireworks show. Someone needs to monitor the dog at home. It's a simple as that.

This bothered me all day after seeing dog after dog nervously looking around at the overwhelming crowd.

After finishing up at the booth I wandered over to the family's blanket to relax and watch the fireworks show. Fireworks really don't do much for me, but it's that family, quality factor thing.

At 9:07 p.m. the lights went out in the park and the show was about to begun. Just as the first projectile exploded, a little black dog went frantically racing by our blanket; leash still attached. You could barely see him because of his color and because of the darkness of the night.

I heard people laughing and it sickened me. This dog was obviously traumatized and bolted from its owners grasp. How did this happen? Who would be so irresponsible to let this happen? My worst fear was coming true.

Our blanket was located behind one of the softball diamonds, with our backs to the parking lot and Foster Road. The dog ran towards the lot and Foster Road. It was running so fast in the dark, and I immediately gave chase. I ran as fast as I could. I just wanted to get to the dog and let him/her know, it was OK.

The dog took off down Foster as I lost sight of it. As I kept running, I was passing people who were walking toward the park, they kept saying, "He went that way! He went that way!', as they pointed in the opposite direction of which they were walking. I was running as fast as I could. I kept thinking, "You know, there are 20,000 people here right now, and I'm not going to let this dog down."

Fireworks were exploding in the air behind me as I ran, illuminating the street in front of me. The same fireworks that give joy to so many, were also the same fireworks about to contribute to a dogs death. It was a surreal and unsettling feeling- unfolding- inside me.

As I got closer to La Mirada Blvd., the look on the face of the last people I encountered, told me what I needed to know.

That little dog ran so fast, was so terrified, and it was hit by a car as it tried to run across La Mirada Blvd, and died. Another 15 feet and the dog would have found the solitude of Biola University.

There was a sheriff working traffic control at the intersection and he told me he tried to stop traffic for the dog but it happened so quickly. He consoled me, and then I stood there leaning against the brick wall, motionless, grieving for about 15 minutes.

Why did this have to happen? Why did the last two minutes of this dog's life have to be filled with terror? Why him/her? Why do these things happen that bring us such despair?

I was distraught, devastated, and numb. I was buried with grief for the dog and disappointment in myself for not being able to save him.

I was affected for days.

I found out days later that the dog belonged to a teacher at La Mirada High School. And days later, I learned I had actually met the dog a couple of times at the baseball field. This didn't make things better. What a small world.

I heard they were very upset, and I'm sure they were, but education is the key here.

There has to be something we can do to prevent this from happening again, and use this as a life lesson.

I am imploring that Mayor Susan Tripp and the rest of the La Mirada City Council and staff to please, please include animal advisories at all 3rd of July fireworks shows from this point forward and perhaps advise neighboring homes of the hazards to dogs and other pets.

I realize the City Council has already discussed the 3rd of July event at a recent study session, but I am asking that the event discussion and review be revisited, with the dog issue being the topic.

I know you can't tell people NOT to bring their dogs, but I think strategically placed advisories on signage during the event and literature leading up to the event, will help prevent this from happening again. These simple steps will help people who don't necessarily know, about the dangers fireworks pose to dogs and other pets and animals at these type of events.

I hope we can use this tragedy-one that I will never forget-as a learning tool, to prevent animal suffering in the future.

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