Milton firefighter Shane Black (left) walks Ali as Alex Fortner handles Toy.
Photo: AJC file photo
Photo: AJC file photo

Mayor of N. Fulton city wants fireworks laws to protect horses

Like most folks, Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood says he enjoys a good fireworks show.

But as the elected leader of the partially rural north Fulton County city, he wants to make sure that the owners of farms and the animals that live on them are considered when Georgia lawmakers return to work in 2018.

Leading up to the legislative session in January, Lockwood has asked the Milton Equestrian Committee to work with city staff and its state delegation to pursue amendments to the law that would address how fireworks can be a danger to horses and other livestock.

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Following July 4th, Lockwood said he heard from several residents, horse and farm owners complaining that the personal use of fireworks in Milton was excessive, particularly in the days leading up to the holiday.

Horses and other animals often fear the flashing and booming that fireworks make, and displays can send horses into a panic, which can lead to serious injuries or even death. According to media reports in 2013, fireworks spooked one Milton horse so badly it ran into a wall, broke its neck and died.

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“Milton residents have been clear in their desire for our city to retain its rural look and feel and with that desire comes a responsibility to consider the needs of our area farm owners,” Lockwood wrote in a statement to city residents on Monday.

The Georgia General Assembly made revisions to fireworks legislation in 2016, but Lockwood would like additional changes to the law that consider how close to horses and livestock fireworks can be when they are set off, and what hours fireworks can be used.

Lockwood, who is seeking reelection to a fourth term, has been Milton’s mayor since it was founded in 2006. He asks anyone with comments, questions or suggestions to email info@cityofmiltonga.us.

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Fireworks were invented more than 2,000 years ago and were originally used to scare off mountain men.

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