In 2008 the Arvada City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting the feeding of wildlife on City parks and golf courses. This ordinance makes it illegal to feed wildlife on public property.
Why Does the City Prohibit the Feeding of Wildlife?
Word Gets Out
Feeding a single wild animal can quickly lead to having many at your doorstep. Wild animals constantly search for food and many will find the easy food source you provide. Continually feeding many wild animals in the same place can harm the habitat, people, and the animals themselves.
Spread of Disease
Most wildlife diseases are transferred from animal to animal. Because of their close contact, animals crowding at feeding sites can readily exchange diseases. More animals die from disease and disease-related ailments than from starvation. It’s also important to remember that wildlife can carry many diseases that readily spread to people, pets, and livestock, including rabies, Lyme disease, salmonellosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, distempers, and encephalitis. In addition, most wildlife species carry parasites that are also easily transferred. For example, raccoon round worms can be fatal to humans and scabies mites cause mange in pets.
Change in Natural Behavior
Animals fed by humans often lose their natural fear of people. Nearly any wild animal, no matter how timid, is capable of inflicting injury to humans, pets, and livestock.
Crowding and Stress
In crowded situations, physical aggression among individual animals is common. At feeding sites, larger more aggressive individuals often exclude younger and weaker individuals. Aggressive behavior can lead to injuries and even death, particularly for vulnerable individuals.
Unnatural Food Sources are Detrimental
Wild animals need a variety of natural foods for their diet. Their digestive systems are adapted to extract energy from a variety of foods available throughout the seasons. Though wildlife may accept handouts from people, they will likely not get the balanced diet they need for good health. For example, deer have sensitive digestive systems that cannot readily adapt to supplemental food sources. In fact, winter starved deer have actually died with full stomachs because their digestive system was unable to process the supplemental food.