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Family mourns loss of donkey due to fireworks

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    Atlanta, GA (WGCL ) — July fourth is supposed to be a time of celebration, but a local family is now mourning the loss of their donkey after it suffered a heart attack from the fireworks.

Farm owners and animal lovers in Milton say that fireworks are an issue, so much so that some animals run away others have died.

“When you lose a big animal, it really breaks your heart,” said John Bogino.

John Bogino’s miniature donkey, Sammy, is buried on the seven gables farm property where he spent 22 years. “It’s devastating, you know, they’re like pets to us, really, these animals,” said Bogino.

Sammy died on July 4th.

“The explosions were very, very loud, louder than usual, and I suppose he got frightened, so he either died of fright or a heart attack,” Bogino added.

Bogino and his wife typically keep their animals inside the barn under fans during the day in the hot summer months, and out in the pasture at night.

He says the sight and the sound of fireworks really scare the animals.

“A few years ago, it wasn’t the 4th of July, because we bring the horses in usually, but on the 26th of July, some neighbors shot up fireworks, and the horses’ defense is flight, so when they get scared, they run, so the horses started running, they run through fences, and several were injured, one was injured so badly he had to be put down,” Bogino said.

He says Milton is horse country and many people have large animals, and now they’re trying to change the laws and restrict fireworks to the holidays only.

“We understand on the 4th of July, or New Year’s Eve, people might like to celebrate, we know that, and we bring the animals in, try to protect them, but the laws in Georgia allows people to shoot off fireworks any time,” added Bogino.

Councilman Matt Kunz says the state makes the decisions on fireworks, so they’re pushing for more local control to experiment with other ideas.

“One thing the city is trying to do is educate our residents with regards to how to comingle with our equestrian facilities and neighbors,” said Councilman Matt Kunz, with the city of Milton.

Bogino says these deaths are avoidable, and thinks if people were better informed, they would be more careful.

“They’re very affectionate, and we just kind of fall in love with these creatures,” Bogino said.

While it could take some time to see any laws go into effect, for now they’re hoping to educate and inform people of the dangers fireworks have on these animals.

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