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Keep an open mind for veterans, animals this Fourth of July

Cookouts, a cool beverage and plenty of fireworks.

But with the Fourth of July just days away, focus less on bottle rockets and more on the people next door.

"If somebody’s down the street throwing firecrackers out at three in the morning and you’re trying to sleep, it’s annoying," quipped East Bluff resident Paul Adams.

Adams says he doesn’t want to ruin anyone’s fun – rather, he wants party-goers to be considerate of their neighbors, especially veterans.

"I worked in mental health for many years, and I have experience working with people who have PTSD," he said. "And it’s very difficult, it takes them back to that trauma."

Peoria Police Public Information Officer Amy Dotson agrees, with an added caveat: police will be out in force to enforce city ordinances, which in Peoria could leave you with a $250 fine.

"We’re not trying to ruin anyone’s Fourth of July fun, or the festivities leading up to it," she said. "It’s a safety aspect."

More than your wallet, though, is the risk to your health. Dotson says they’ve received too many calls of injuries in years past.

"We see them, Peoria Fire Department sees them, Advanced Medical Transport sees them," she listed, "and we see people that are injured by fireworks or their misuse. And that’s what we want to prevent."

It’s more than just people you need to worry about on the holiday. All of the animals in and around Peoria have worries of their own come firework season.

Kim Scott with Peoria Zoo says the zoo already takes extra precautions for their animals, but included that people should consider debris and trash that might get into exhibits downwind.

"Pieces of paper from the rocketry get into the air, the animals – it could get into their exhibit and they could eat it. So we have to be real careful with that, just like people do with their yard."

And for your household furry friends, consider microchipping or keeping them in a sound-insulated room.

"(Fireworks) can all scare pets, and depending on how close they are…even the little ones can be loud and disruptive to pets in the home," explained Bridget Domenighini of Peoria County Animal Protection Services.

On Facebook, Peoria Police have an in-depth list on which fireworks are safe to use and which ones will result in a fine. Any firework disruption calls should be made to Peoria Police’s non-emergency line at (309) 673-4521.

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