On April 24, Town Council approved an amendment to the Lot Maintenance By-law prohibiting feeding wildlife and leaving food out to attract animals.
Feeding wildlife may seem harmless, however it can have serious impacts on both animals and the community. Problems that could arise include:
- conditioning animals to expect food from people or be dependent on people as a food source
- attracting unwanted species to a property
- animals losing their natural fear of humans
- increased public health concerns from the spread of disease and increased rodent activity and infestation
- negative interactions with pets and humans
- animals falling ill because the artificial food sources is not healthy for wildlife
Feeding songbirds or hummingbirds will still be allowed provided the bird feeder is kept tidy and food spillage is removed so it doesn’t attract other wildlife. There are other exceptions, including allowing licensed trappers, authorized wildlife or pest control agencies or their employees, to leave food as bait as part of their work. For a full list, review the Lot Maintenance By-law Update Report (pdf) and Appendix A.
Issuing fines to curb direct or indirect feeding
The Lot Maintenance By-law, together with the Parks By-law and Property Standards By-law, bans feeding wildlife, direct and indirect, and leaving food out to attract animals across Oakville on both public and private property. If a person is found violating these rules, officers can issue a ticket, fining people between $300-$500. The town also has the ability to issue a court summons for more serious offenses and repeat offenders.
The town recommends that residents and property owners keep their property tidy, removing all water and food sources from one’s yard, including birdseed and ripe/rotted fruit that has fallen to the ground and storing garbage, compost and pet food in a place where wildlife cannot access it. Remove long grass, dead brush and wood piles as well.
To learn more about the ban, visit the Wildlife and You page on the Town of Oakville website.