Medical Lake to review proposed ordinance for wildlife management
Urban Wildlife Management Program to address problems with deer, other animals
An "Urban Wildlife Management Program" to address the growing populations of deer, raccoons and other animals in Medical Lake will be considered by the city.
At the previous Medical Lake City Council meeting, Dec. 12, Tammy Roberson presented a proposal for an "Urban Wildlife Management Program" to address the growing populations of deer, raccoons and other animals that could become a nuisance within city limits.
The ordinance is a part of a larger plan to manage potential problems that may develop from wildlife in the future.
One purpose of the ordinance is to discourage citizens from intentionally feeding wild animals.
According to the ordinance, citizens feeding wildlife could result in several problems, including: wildlife-vehicle accidents, damage to commercial and residential landscaping and the transmission of diseases through wildlife saliva and defecation to humans, pets and plants.
The increase of wildlife could also result in aggressive animals coming within city limits to look for a food source.
Once the city adopts the ordinance, no residents may place any food on the ground or within six feet of the ground, unless the food covered in a way that prevents deer or raccoons from eating it. This does not apply to home fruit trees, bushes, vines, vegetable gardens and other live vegetation intended for human consumption and ornamental plants, flowers and landscaping.
Under the ordinance, residents may not tease, disturb, molest, catch, injure, kill or attack any animal within city limits unless the animal is attacking them. Using loud noises, shouting, spraying water, shining lights, blowing whistles and horns are acceptable ways to remove wildlife to prevent a confrontation.
The proposal recommends the city add a section to their website to educate citizens about the potential problems with wildlife, specifically raccoons and deer, as well as tips on how to deal with problems regarding wildlife.
If a resident is caught intentionally feeding an animal or causing someone else to feed them will result in the following will result in a written note requiring the resident to remove the food within a 24-hour period and read the material on the website concerning feeding wildlife.
If a person commits the offense a second time, they will be required to remove the food, visit the city building and read the educational material. Once they are finished reading the material, they will sign a certification statement stating they read, understood and/or spoke with a program official.
A third occurrence will be considered a simple misdemeanor and result in a written notification to remove the food and pay a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $300 per incident.
At the council meeting, Roberson said the ordinance will help the citizens live in harmony with the wildlife.
Mayor John Higgins said the council would review the material and vote on it for the next meeting.
Al Stover can be reached at email@example.com.