by Susan Dunne. Originally posted by The Hartford Courant.
What goes up, must come down. This is true of all things, but when it is a helium-filled balloon, tragedy can result.
When a balloon comes down in water, sea creatures may eat it and die. When it comes down on land, birds may become entangled in its strings, and either become seriously injured or die.
A bill that passed the state House of Representatives and is on the Senate calendar, aims to ban the intentional release of helium balloons.
HB6481 passed the House 137-5. Dozens of people submitted testimony to support the bill. No opposing testimony was given.
Priscilla Feral, president of Darien-based Friends of Animals, said passing the law would be a teaching moment.
“This legislation is a powerful, necessary tool to help educate communities to prevent intentional releases of balloons to commemorate a celebration or other life event,” Feral said.
Cummings has begun that education with presentations at elementary schools, where she brings raptors to show the kids.
Pharaoh is one of Cummings’ birds. A Place Called Hope acquired the falcon after it was entangled in balloon strings. Pharaoh had to be cut free and has been flightless ever since.
“Wings and elbow joints get broken. It’s not something we can fix. No vet can fix it either. The bones fuse. There is no mobility,” Cummings said. “These 100% healthy beings become captive victims because of something someone discarded.”