Wildlife advocates divided on feeding ban

A group of Nevada senators introduced a bill last month that would prohibit intentional feeding of wildlife.

Senate bill 371 would ban a person from intentionally feeding any species of wildlife other than the feathered kind, according to the bill text. A three-time repeat offender could be fined up to $1,000 or spend six months in jail.

“We’re very much behind it. There is no law in Nevada right now that prohibits the intentional feeding of big game,” BEAR League Executive Director Ann Bryant said Friday. “In Nevada we have no teeth.”

Under the California Code of Regulations, people are prohibited from harassing, herding or driving most species of wildlife. The section defines harassing as “an intentional act which disrupts an animal’s normal behavior patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, breeding, feeding or sheltering.”

Nevada has gone too long without a similar law, Bryant said. The bill gives wildlife groups a way to hold people accountable for intentionally feeding a wild animal, she said.

But Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Executive Director Cheryl Millham said she wouldn’t vote for the bill as written. Chumming would still be legal under the bill, a section Millham opposed. She also cited a time 20 years ago when she had to feed a herd of deer that had become trapped near Kiva Beach.

“There are times when wildlife needs our help. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen occasionally,” Millham.

Even if SB 371 passes, it doesn’t prohibit someone from accidentally leaving their trash outside. Douglas County does have a trash-container ordinance that stipulates that people who experience problems of bears getting in the trash will get two warnings to remedy the problem, according to a previous Tahoe Daily Tribune article.

It’s just not a good idea to feed wild animals that can take care of themselves, Bryant said.

“We just hope that everyone will see the benefit of it and it will pass. It’s taken way too long and we’re very pleased with it,” Bryant said.

There were no upcoming hearings for the bill scheduled as of Friday afternoon.


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