A $3,500 fine was levied this week against a woman for leaving attractants in Vancouver’s Stanley Park in 2021. The feeding incident that led to the charges took place shortly after 11 coyotes were killed due to animals biting park visitors – believed to be caused in part by feeding and attractants.
The couple behind the feeding were originally charged with four counts related to feeding in Stanley Park and one in Burnaby, but only one count was kept following a guilty plea, according to CBC.
Global News reports that the lawyer for the couple indicate they have no history with law enforcement and claimed to have fed birds and other animals to relax; further, their lawyer stated they had no idea that wildlife feeding could pose dangers to other park users.
While the court did not directly connect the feeding of the couple to the coyotes’ behaviour (which experts believe was largely impacted by feeding and attractants), the judge did note the choice to feed created a risk.
"Her actions were intentional at every step and she needs to be held accountable for that," Judge James Sutherland said, according to CBC. "I also have to accept … that she perhaps lacked awareness and the significance of the coyote-human interaction taking place in Stanley Park."
CBC reports that the BC Conservation Officer Service tracked the couple carrying and leaving food in the park, following tips from the public. The couple allegedly walked past signs warning visitors to not feed wildlife or leave out garbage that could attract animals like coyotes. At the time of their arrest, the couples’ vehicle was seized and BCCOS recorded 63 kilograms of dog biscuits, bread, and bird seed. According to a news report, the couple’s vehicle was seized for a second time a month later, when they were found buying dog food and walking across the street and leaving it in a park.
Though the Crown asked the court to levy $10,000 in fines (with $9,000 going to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation), Judge Sutherland levied the $3,500 fine, of which $2,500 will go to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.
The Fur-Bearers remind residents that feeding wildlife has impacts that may not be seen. Despite best intentions and efforts, any food/attractants left outdoors can attract all animals in an ecosystem, putting the individual animals, pets, and people at risk. Learn more on our Wildlife Feeding page by clicking here.