The City of Waterloo in Ontario has enacted a wildlife feeding by-law to help local enforcement officers curb inappropriate feeding and prevent conflict.
“The new rules aim to curb extreme cases of feeding wildlife that can create a nuisance and attract unwanted animals into residential areas,” reports TheRecord.com.
Wildlife feeding often comes from a place of compassion and love. Who doesn’t cherish seeing wild critters up close, or watching a chipmunk stuff their cheeks to cartoonish proportions? But wildlife feeding frequently creates more problems than it can solve, leading to conflict within communities, as well as hazards for the animals themselves.
The Waterloo by-law will not target bird feeders, but will create “a better response to community concerns,"the director of by-law enforcement was quoted as saying by TheRecord.com.
One resident said that a neighbour takes feeding to the extreme, resulting in “mounds of peanut shells and piles of bird droppings” in her backyard. This was inviting unwanted animals such as rats and possums into her neighbourhood. While those animals were likely already calling the resident’s neighbourhood home, their behaviour could have changed as a result of the vast resources being provided.
When the complaining resident contacted officials – from local bylaw officers to the province – no one could help, because there wasn’t a rule against what the neighbour had been doing.
In some cases, this kind of feeding can begin to attract larger animals, too, such as birds of prey, coyotes, or bears. While their presence isn’t inherently problematic, people often fear these larger animals, and that primes the cannon of conflict and lethal control.
The Fur-Bearers want to congratulate the City of Waterloo for implementing a progressive by-law that will protect residents as well as local wildlife, and offer our support in developing educational materials for homeowners.
Wild animals want the same things we do – to have a safe place to call home and raise our families. Good policy such as this is a strong way to help everyone in our communities achieve that.