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Judge hears arguments in lawsuit to stop La Jolla fireworks show

Posted at 12:02 PM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 19:13:41-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- An animal rights group is asking a judge to stop a potential Fourth of July fireworks show over La Jolla Cove from happening.

In May, the Animal Protection and Rescue League filed a legal complaint in an effort to block Deborah Marengo and her group, the La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation, from launching fireworks over La Jolla Cove on July 4.

The complaint stated the fireworks will harm newborn sea lion pups in the middle of pupping season.

Attorney Bryan Pease, representing the Animal Protection and Rescue League, said by having this fireworks show at this specific location so close to the sea lions, Marengo and her group would be breaking rules.

RELATED: La Jolla Cove fireworks sparks legal fight with animal protection group

“The animals are protected under federal law, so there is a process and we’ve laid it out for them, letting them know exactly what’s needed to do in order to launch the fireworks in a manner that wouldn’t cause impact or harm to these marine mammals, and they refuse to follow the process,” said Pease.

Marengo’s attorneys argued the La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation has what’s needed to legally put the fireworks show on, adding this is an event that’s funded by the community and has been happening for the last three decades.

Jim Heffner, one of her attorneys, said, “There should be some evidence of harm after 33 times. But it’s important that the evidence establishes it’s the same location, the same amount, and the same duration. This is a small, small show; 600 shells for 20-25 minutes.”

Heffner said there’s also an economic impact to this as many businesses in that community has already prepared to have extra foot traffic because of the fireworks show.

The judge said he needs some more time to review the arguments and documents before making a decision.

The annual fireworks show was canceled last year due to the pandemic.