Elizabeth Olson has had enough with the fireworks in her Palm Harbor neighborhood. She said they are dangerous and give the dogs she rescues fits.
“It’s not just dogs and people and everybody being upset, but our veterans have nightmares about this,” Olson said.
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Florida law says any fireworks that shoot in the air or explode are illegal. But that doesn’t stop people from selling and using them, especially this time of year.
Some vendors get around the law with a waiver, saying the fireworks will only be used for agricultural purposes like to scare birds off a farm.
Pinellas County has stricter rules than most, but even the Sheriff said it’s too widespread to do anything about it.
“I even said then take it off the books. It’s literally if people are selling crack on the corners, I’d think you’d find a way to enforce it,” said Olson.
Olson started an online petition to push enforcement of Florida’s firework laws. And she said it needs to start with a crack down on where the fireworks are sold.
“I’m kind of excited to see the results when I sell everything out,” said William Quintero who is running a TNT Fireworks tent in a WalMart parking lot. “There are other people selling stuff that they shouldn’t.”
He said everything he sells is legal in Pinellas County. And he doesn’t even need anyone to sign one of those waivers.
“A lot of the stuff we have here is fountains. You put it on the ground and it goes up a few feet. Makes noise, sparks, colors,” he said.
In Pasco County, the Sheriff’s Office even has a page on it’s website answering why they don’t stop illegal use of fireworks. They’ve tried in the past and even confiscated fireworks, but admit it’s a complicated issue that’s difficult to enforcement.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth said she’s not trying to be a party pooper and she is very patriotic.
“You can go to numerous places and see professional fireworks all over the county. It doesn’t need to be the neighbor next door setting them off at 2 in the morning which does happen in my neighborhood,” she said.
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So far she has more than half of the 500 signatures she’s after on her petition.