L.L. Bean’s plan to celebrate its 100th anniversary with an expanded fireworks display on July 7 has renewed concerns of two West Freeport residents who fear they may have to euthanize their abused pony that has suffered through past displays.

The launching area for the larger, higher and longer display — billed by L.L. Bean as the “BIGGEST” in Maine — has been moved for safety reasons from the town’s usual location in Freeport’s village to Pine Tree Academy off Pownal Road, on the other side of Interstate 295.

The fireworks will be aimed to explode, as usual, over the village, where more than 20,000 people are expected to be watching, said Carolyn Beem, L.L. Bean’s spokeswoman. The event was planned in concert with a licensed fireworks company and state and local fire officials, she said.

“It will be a little bit bigger,” Beem said, “but it also will be a little bit higher, so it won’t be as loud.”

That’s little consolation to Susan Campbell and Joe Carroll, whose 100-acre farm on Hunter Road is near the planned launching area at the academy.

They say their 10 cows and four horses, including a 30-year-old pony named Katie that was rescued from abuse, have suffered through the town’s usual fireworks displays for years and could be more traumatized by the expanded celebration.

Katie, especially, has regular panic attacks when frightened, sometimes choking and struggling to breathe when faced with strangers, loud noises or unfamiliar surroundings.

“I’m afraid we might have to put her down,” said Campbell, who got emotional as she spoke. “It was bad before. Now, it’s going to be in our backyard. It just seems a little excessive. All I’m asking is that they scale it back to what it usually is.”

In a recent letter to Campbell, L.L. Bean offered to take the pony to another location for the night or pay for a veterinarian to provide assistance during the event, Campbell said.

Neither is a real solution, she said, because Katie’s responses to fear are unpredictable and the other animals would still be exposed to the larger display. Campbell usually starts treating her animals with a non-narcotic sedative three days before a typical fireworks display.

The two sides appear to be at a standoff. Campbell, who is a nurse and a former town councilor, said L.L. Bean executives haven’t returned her calls to discuss the matter further.

L.L. Bean’s spokeswoman said the company is willing to discuss other possible solutions, but she hasn’t heard back from Campbell.

“We have reached out to try to address her concerns,” Beem said. “I’m not sure what those solutions might be.”

The fireworks will conclude the company’s 100th Anniversary Hometown Celebration, which starts July 4 with the 35th annual L.L. Bean 10K Road Race and includes several free concerts and other events.

Campbell questioned whether the expanded fireworks display violates the town’s safety and noise ordinances, but the law is on L.L. Bean’s side, according to Town Manager Dale Olmstead.

The town’s safety ordinances apply to humans, and its noise ordinance applies to continued sounds, he said. State and local fire officials reviewed the planned launch site before the state Fire Marshal’s Office issued a permit and state police will be notified to make sure traffic on I-295 is uninterrupted during the display.

Olmstead said several people have called Town Hall in recent days, worried that the fireworks may be canceled because one person has complained.

“People love fireworks,” Olmstead said.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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