By Kevin Werner, News Staff
The city of Hamilton wants to but the bite on people who feed wild animals.
Members of the public works committee will be considering a proposed bylaw June 5 that will prevent people from giving food to wildlife. The bylaw, if approved, will replace a current bylaw that prohibits the feeding of pigeons. The bylaw would include birds, and all other forms of animals.
Birds and feral cats can be fed under the bylaw, if they are on a person’s property and it doesn’t disrupt the normal enjoyment of other property owners.
“Urban expansion is taking place, which is leading to increased interaction between humans, their pets and property, and wildlife which can result in undesirable consequences for all,” states the report.
City staff say that feeding wildlife is a “leading cause of negative interaction” between people, their pets and wild animals.
Over the last few years there have been an increase in sightings of coyotes in the beach community, and along the Niagara Escarpment.
During a public meeting last fall when councillors were reviewing a new animal control bylaw, Coyote Watch Canada representatives recommended the city establish a feeding wildlife bylaw, similar to one that was adopted by the city of Niagara Falls.
Residents living in the Ancaster and Mountain areas have been criticized for feeding the wild deer, which has see a population explosion over the years. The Hamilton Conservation Authority recommended the city establish an bylaw to prohibit wildlife feeding.
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources regulates issues surrounding wildlife, and urges residents not to feed wildlife since it increases the risk of rabies transmission, and animals lose their natural fear of humans.
Under the bylaw, a fine could reach $10,000 for a first conviction. Subsequent convictions would net a person a fine of $25,000.