A new ordinance will now prohibit the feeding of wildlife in city parks, recreational facilities and public plazas. Feeding pigeons is already prohibited; the new ordinance will add feeding feral animals, such as rabbits, community cats and wildlife, mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks, or crustaceans found naturally in a wild state.
Complaints are received weekly about the overfeeding of wildlife and the maintenance issues this creates at parks. Lorenzi Park and Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs both have sizeable wildlife populations that live in the small ponds found at the parks.
The feeding of wildlife can be harmful for the following reasons:
- Leads to public health concerns: increases the chance of disease transmission to people and pets, and among other wildlife
- Large concentrations of ducks, geese, and American coots can pollute nearby waterways, backyards, and athletic fields
- Some species of waterfowl drop up to a pound of feces every day
- Human food is not healthy for wildlife. Also, food wrappers are often eaten, which can make animals sick
- Animals often lose their fear of people and become aggressive
- Local wildlife populations become too large and animals have to be moved or euthanized
There will be a $10 fine. Exceptions to this ordinance can be requested through a license, permit, or other written authorization by the director of Parks and Recreation.