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Denton Kiwanis Club to host annual fireworks show near animal shelter

Denton Kiwanis Club to host annual fireworks show near animal shelter

Denton Kiwanis Club to host annual fireworks show near animal shelter
June 30
12:00 2022

Denton City Council approved a request from the Denton Kiwanis Club to host their annual fireworks show at North Lakes Park, less than two miles away from the Linda McNatt Animal Care and Adoption Facility.

The decision raised concerns about how the fireworks will affect animals being sheltered at the facility. Fireworks could cause anxiety and fear in animals near the park, according to Sirrus Lawson, senior Students Opposing Speciesism coordinator for the Denton Providence Village chapter. 

“The explosions [from the fireworks], particularly with the sound that they cause terrify and trigger stress, disorientation and anxiety in domesticated animals like cats and dogs as well as wildlife,” said Lawson. 

The Kiwanis Club hosts a fireworks show every year as a way to raise money for the Kiwanis Club Children’s Clinic

“The money we make off parking sales and – in the past – off of sponsorships goes to our children’s clinic, which is a network of doctors, dentists and pharmacists who provide services to children in Denton county from economically disadvantaged backgrounds,” Hank Dickenson, chairman of the organization’s fireworks committee, said. “It’s a very good way for us to support the kids in Denton and Denton County and also celebrate freedom all in one day.”

This is the first year the show will be hosted at North Lakes Park. Prior to 2020, the show was held at Apogee Stadium for almost 10 years. 

“I think, during the pandemic obviously, it wasn’t safe to do it [at Apogee] so we looked at other options,” Dickenson said. “We looked at C.H. Collins but the city determined the issues there would not be conducive to hosting there. I worked for the [UNT] athletic department for over 25 years […] it made sense for me to run the fireworks show [at Apogee] stadium, but I retired in [2020]. It’s not that I’m not there anymore, but the person who ran it in the stadium is no longer there.”

Though the location was up for debate, the council approved North Lakes Park in a 6-1 vote. The dissenting vote was made by District 2 City Councilman Brian Beck.

“When this was brought to my attention, the two things that jumped out [at me was] the location of the animal shelter and the sort of traffic and mobility issues,” Beck said. “A lot of people reached out to me pretty much at the same moment, or you know [within] a few days and said, ‘Why are we putting fireworks on top of the shelter?’”

With environmentalism and wildlife in consideration, Beck wondered why the city would host in an area known for its plentiful wildlife.

“On top of the domestic animals in the shelter, we are trying to be a bird city sanctuary,” Beck said. “We are trying to build wildlife [in North Lakes Park], and with the fireworks, they are going to chase off some of the wildlife we are trying to collect in that park.”

Traffic in the area also concerned Beck.

“I drive down Windsor to go to the gym and just thought ‘how are they going to get all of these people through here?'” Beck said.

A “Clear the Shelter” week will be held from June 27 through July 2 to boost the adoption of animals in the shelter.

“We would like to keep the shelter as clear as possible,” Beck said. “I hate to use a crisis to clear the shelter, but I guess it is some amount of glasses partially full. There’s some amount of benefit to raising awareness to make the community know to clear the shelter.” 

According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, the facility plans to utilize calming diffusers and music to decrease anxiety in animals who do not get adopted. The facility also plans to provide anxiety aids for the families of the adoptees. 

 “For the folks who do have pets and animals of any species in the area, keep them indoors the night of the event,” Lawson said. “Firework displays cause so much distress to these animals that [on average], local animal shelters experience about a 25 percent increase in dogs and cats from animals who just hear these shows.”

Featured Image: A sign for the Denton Kiwanis Fireworks show stands in front of an Animal Care Facility on June 27, 2022. Photo by Anthony Rubio

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Lauryn Barron

Lauryn Barron

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