According to a Milton farm owner, Sambuca Sammy the miniature donkey died from a heart attack or a fright during the July 4th fireworks. Sammy was 24. (Courtesy of Channel 2 Action News)
Photo: Courtesy of WSB-TV
Photo: Courtesy of WSB-TV

Donkey death caused by July 4th fireworks, says Milton farm owner

A donkey’s death during July 4 fireworks has a Milton farm owner asking people to think twice about the loud, colorful displays.

John Bogino of Seven Gables Farm said he believes Sambuca, a miniature donkey they called “Sammy,” died during all the fireworks that night.

“The sounds were really loud, and I suspect he got scared out there and probably died of fright or heart attack,” Bogino said Thursday.

The sound of fireworks harming animals is a known issue in Milton, where the nearly 10,000 residents are more likely to have a horse than a MARTA Breeze card.


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Joe Lockwood, Milton’s only mayor since the rural city formed in 2006, tasked the Milton Equestrian Committee in 2017 to work with state lawmakers to create laws that address how dangerous fireworks can be to animals and livestock.

Just days before Sammy died, the city emailed out a warning: “While the sights and sounds are exciting for most of us, fireworks can be less enjoyable for both large and small animals.”

Councilman Matt Kunz told Channel 2 Action News that educating homeowners only goes so far and that only new laws could have saved Sammy.


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“We do need more local representation allowed by the state in order to experiment with alternatives that might be able to create a better outcome,” Kunz told Channel 2.

Bogino said 24-year-old Sammy guarded the goat and alpaca on the farm, which boards 15 horses for neighbors.

The farm also hosts school groups and kids dropping by to pet the animals. Sammy was a favorite.

“Any of the bigger animals, it’s always tough, we know they have a certain life expectancy,” Bogino said, “but fireworks is really a problem for anyone with animals.”


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