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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Fireworks banned at official functions in Cataño

The prohibition was established for the sake of the citizenry, in particular vulnerable individuals, and pets, the Cataño municipal administration said.

By The Star Staff

In an executive order issued this week, Cataño Mayor Julio Alicea Vasallo declared the prohibition of the use of aerial and explosive pyrotechnics in official activities, as well as in facilities under municipal jurisdiction.

The prohibition was established for the sake of all citizens, in particular vulnerable individuals, and pets, the municipal administration said.

“Sensitive to our children with autism, older adults, infants and people with post-traumatic stress, we have established the prohibition of pyrotechnics,” the mayor said, referring to Executive Order 27, series 2022-2023. “In addition, our pets are adversely affected by the noise of explosives and [airborne] particles that can be toxic to the animal.”

Experts say people on the autism spectrum suffer from anxiety caused by loud noises, due to their distinct brain functioning. In addition, older adults, infants and people who suffer post-traumatic stress, suffer emotionally from the din of fireworks.

The municipality’s Animal Welfare Office, meanwhile, works to protect and preserve the quality of life of animals. The auditory effect of pyrotechnics in pets is greater than in humans and generates discomfort and fear in animals.

“In Cataño we want our families to spend these Christmas days in peace and harmony,” the mayor said. “And, in addition to protecting the safety of our citizens, we seek the best health environment for our vulnerable fellow citizens, and to protect the well being of pets. It is contradictory to say we protect pets and allow pyrotechnics in our official activities. We demonstrated last year that you can have great events without the discomfort caused by pyrotechnics.”

Law 83 of June 25, 1962, the Puerto Rico Pyrotechnics Law, as amended, prohibits the possession, use, manufacture or sale of aerial pyrotechnics or explosives, including fireworks. This law establishes up to six months in jail and/or a $5,000 fine in cases involving up to 10 units of pyrotechnic material and more than six months in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000 when more than 10 units are seized. Similarly, Law 154 of 2008 defines animal abuse as any act or omission incurred by a person, whether guardian or not, who causes or puts an animal at risk of suffering damage to its physical and/or emotional health.

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