Please don’t feed the animals. That’s the message behind a proposed new bylaw that came before Brazeau County council last week.

If approved by council, the Prohibition of Wildlife Feeding Bylaw will make it an offence to intentionally feed wildlife within the boundaries of Brazeau County.

The bylaw was introduced in part in response to a letter from Chiarastella Feder, a Wildlife Biologist with Alberta Environment and Parks, Rocky Mountain House.

“Feeding wildlife, such as foxes, deer, moose and squirrels, to enjoy their sighting on our land and a perceived closer connection with the wildlife, has become an increasingly common practice in many communities,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, this well-intentioned action has numerous negative consequences and regularly creates serious problems that cannot be ignored. The animals, once accustomed to human provided food, lose their natural fear of people, which results in a series of issues. Addressing these issues often results in the wildlife being destroyed or dying because of diseases.”

Councillor Kara Westerlund said she supported the bylaw, which would protect wildlife by limiting interactions with humans.

“It’s disgusting how many of our big predators are being taken down because of human carelessness,” she said. 

However, others on council were less convinced, citing issues with enforcement. There were also questions about whether the bylaw was practical in a rural area. 

“I just think the more rules we have, the more headaches we have,” said Reeve Bart Guyon. 

The bylaw was given first and second reading. However, an attempt to go to third reading on the same day required unanimous consent from council. That was blocked when Guyon, along with councillors Glen Gunderson and Anthony Heinrich voted against. That means the bylaw will have to return to council at a later date if it is to receive final approval. 

By Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Oct 26, 2023 at 10:11

This item reprinted with permission from   Free Press   Drayton Valley, Alberta

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