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Ban on feeding wildlife advances in Palo Alto

Original post made on Apr 23, 2014

After years of encouraging residents not to feed animals at local parks and nature preserves, Palo Alto officials are preparing to institute a ban on the practice.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 10:48 PM

Comments (18)

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2014 at 8:04 am

This is never going to be enforced. No one is going to arrest a kid feeding bread to the ducks or the students leaving their lunch remains for the squirrels in Mitchell Park.


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Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2014 at 8:42 am

This is long overdue.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 23, 2014 at 9:52 am

Arresting scofflaws is a last resort. This new policy is about teaching people good manners, since the previous policy was obviously ineffective. Aggressive wild animals are becoming a big problem in some city parks and better city policies can help with that. Don't blame the animals, blame the scofflaws that are encouraging aggressive animal behaviour.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 23, 2014 at 10:28 am

It would be good to start with signs at the duckpond. There were none last time I went there.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 23, 2014 at 10:29 am

The enforcement priority for this item will be one slot below enforcing the leash law at PA parks and schools.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by community center dad
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 23, 2014 at 10:50 am

are you kidding? Our city council has nothing more important to deal with than passing ordinances that will never be enforced regarding feeding wild animals.
how about resurfacing our streets, getting the new library open, dealing with potential flood/bridge issues because we've spent 15 years debating what to do about it....i'm just getting started, the list goes on.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Outraged
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 23, 2014 at 11:43 am

Well given that the Feral Cat support community came out in force when Mountain View was considering such an ordinance, I can only conclude that the "no members of the public speaking against the ordinance" means a lot of people didn't know about this meeting.

Feeding ferals is NOT the same as feeding wildlife! Why? Because humans create the feral cat problem by dumping domestic cats to fend for themselves. The people who feed, trap, neuter and return (TNR) these cats are making up (just a little) for the crimes of others. Also it's been shown by solid research that feeding & TNR of cats controls the number of feral cats, prevents them from intruding on humans (they remain shy and do NOT become aggressive like the squirrels mentioned in the article), it also reduces predation on local songbirds. Finally, stable feral cat colonies tend to repel the introduction of new members so they stay stable in size over time. Rather than -- as someone naive about this might think -- creating a magnet for a group to balloon up to huge proportions. These colonies do NOT balloon.

What's wrong with Palo Alto? All fake liberalism and self-righteousness, it seems. Vote for social programs so 156 million Americans and elect not to work for a living, but deny sustenance to some little animals who never hurt you? Sad.


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Posted by allen edwards
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 23, 2014 at 11:43 am

It is not a good idea to feed wild animals for reasons stated above. Without a law against it, nobody can say anything. I came across someone feeding the squirrels at Sierra Point. I asked them not to do it and they got very rude. There is a huge squirrel problem there and traps are set occasionally. How much better to not feed them than to trap them and destroy them. And how much better if I had been able to say, "don't feed the squirrels, it is illegal". Same for any government worker. Telling someone that it is illegal and that they could face a $250 fine if they keep doing it is much more effective than trying to tell them it isn't nice. Good for Palo Alto. Doing the right thing once again.


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Posted by Residents
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 23, 2014 at 11:49 am

The last time I was at the duck pond they ahd a "Do not feed the ducks" sign that explained the diseases they were seeing due to the high concentration of animals. I also saw some(not all but some) choosing to ignore the sign, also written in Spanish.
The problem is that for decades, we've gone out to the duck pond to feed the ducks. We need a ranger much more present at the pond to remind people that the feeding days are over. A public friendly warning at first, then a citation if needed.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Jim H
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 23, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Add me to the camp of "lets enforce the codes already on the books before making new ones that won't be enforced."


As an example, just go to any school/park after about 5pm and count the number of dogs playing off leash. Or, just visit those schools/parks the following morning and you'll see the piles of feces their "responsible" owners neglected to clean up.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Chris Zaharias is a registered user.

I'm in favor of helping wildlife stay wild and healthy, but this sane approach begs the question: why do we expect taking the opposite approach with our city's homeless, aggressive panhandlers will lead to a good outcome?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Nora Charles is a registered user.

Great question, Chris Zaharias.


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Posted by Marie
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 23, 2014 at 5:19 pm

I know of a resident that puts out baskets of peanuts in his yard every day for the squirrels. It is a big problem because of a huge increase in rats in the neighborhood. I think the ban should include squirrel feeders in private yards. I'm not talking about leaving a few crusts or peanuts out. But neighbors are affected by his actions!


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Posted by Marie
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 23, 2014 at 5:21 pm

I know of a resident that puts out baskets of peanuts in his yard every day for the squirrels. It is a big problem because of a huge increase in rats in the neighborhood. I think the ban should include squirrel feeders in private yards. I'm not talking about leaving a few crusts or peanuts out. But neighbors are affected by his actions!


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 23, 2014 at 5:26 pm

And what about those hummingbird feeders? Illegal?


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Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 23, 2014 at 6:49 pm

To Outraged, In fact, when Carole Hyde and I met with Daren Anderson after the Parks & Rec. Commission meeting last September, we were there to defend the value of TNR and managing the homeless cat population. Carole's group, PAHS, raises money to help pay for spay/neuter surgery when local volunteers have succeeded in trapping feral or homeless cats. Daren listened and responded by ADDING text to the measure--even though it had passed last September. The NEW text makes it clear that the ordinance applies to feeding anybody (wild animals or homeless cats) in areas such as the Baylands and open spaces, where we have some endangered species trying to survive. In addition, the ordinance states that under special circumstances, a cat rescue person or group can get a permit from Greg Betts (Community Services Director) to allow for feeding in order to trap an animal that has taken up residence in one of our parks. For example, we could apply for permission to feed and then trap a mother cat with small kittens, even if the location is normally off limits for such actions. I was pleased at the discussion last night when the revised ordinance came up for review and a vote. I was glad it was passed without objection. I'm sure there are people who don't think it's perfect. However, I felt that we got what we wanted to protect the valuable and humane efforts of cat rescue groups who work with homeless cats.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Jim H.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 23, 2014 at 9:04 pm

@ Chris Zaharias. Great point. This is from the NPS website. See if it can be related to humans...

Animals that are fed lose not only their natural fear of humans, but also their ability to forage on their own. They often become overly aggressive and completely dependent on handouts. They start to look skinny and sickly and develop begging behaviors, which exacerbates the cycle further as visitors feel sorry for them... Fed animals tend to congregate near roadways and are at a high risk for being killed by vehicles. Leaving garbage exposed at picnic areas or beaches can also attract larger predatory mammals and birds.


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