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Don't Turn Your Independence Day Holiday Weekend Into a Bummer!

Under Chapter 7.92 of Santa Cruz County Code, fireworks are prohibited in Santa Cruz County, including on all beaches. Fireworks are not only dangerous, they can damage the environment, harm pets, spark wildfires and create havoc. During the 4th of July holiday, violators are subject to increased fine up to $1,000. Consuming alcohol in public, carrying open containers of alcohol and excessive noise may also lead to $1,000 fines around the July 4th holiday. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office plans increased enforcement to watch for violators, particularly in coastal neighborhoods. The County is also reaching out to the public through broadcast, print and social media make sure locals and visitors alike know the rules. Protect yourself, protect your pets, protect the environment and protect your pocketbook: leave the fireworks to sanctioned fireworks displays!

Tips for a Safe Holiday

· Fireworks of any kind are not allowed in unincorporated Santa Cruz County, and are banned on all beaches from the North Coast to South County.

· Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on County beaches or in public outside commercial establishments or residences.

· If you see what looks like a homemade explosive, stay back, call 911, and wait for law enforcement.

· Pack your trash! We don’t want garbage on our beaches.

· Have fun! Nothing says summer like a good 4th of July bash. Enjoy food, family, friends and fun, but leave the explosives behind.

Safety Tips for Pets

Independence Day can be difficult for pets, and more animals are lost during the 4th of July celebrations than at any other time of the year. Loud noises from fireworks frighten animals due to their heightened senses of hearing, and they will do anything to escape the noise.

This behavior is usually unpredictable and out of character, and it may include chewing through a leash, jumping through screens and glass windows, digging under a fence, jumping over a wall, bolting away from the owner, and running into traffic. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help ensure your pet's safety and make July 4th a great holiday for both you and your pet!

· Don’t take your pet to fireworks displays. The explosions of the fireworks are loud to the human ear. Imagine how loud it sounds to your dog, who can hear sounds up to 60,000 cycles per second -- that's three times greater than the human ear can even register.

· Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects, even death, in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.

· Keep your pets indoors in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals become destructive when frightened, so be sure you've removed any items your pet could destroy or may be harmful to your pet if chewed. It’s important that they have a safe, quiet “den-like” place to relax, such as a secure room of the house or blanketed crate. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him/her company if you go out. Shut windows and blinds or curtains.

· Exercise your pet. Tire your dog or cat out with plenty of exercise early in the day.

If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.