Tuesday, January 19, 2010

IOWA NEWS: Deer Feeding Illegal in Clive

Residents intentionally setting out food for deer would have 24 hours to remove it or face fines.

Officials hope a proposed law against deer feeding will lower Clive's deer population to recommended levels.

The Clive City Council voted 5-0 on Jan. 7 to approve the first reading of an ordinance that would create fines for residents caught leaving food out for deer. The council will have to vote on the ordinance at least one more meeting before it can be enacted.

The Parks and Recreation Board met several times in recent months to discuss deer feeding. According to the Polk County Deer Task Force, the city has 50 deer per square mile of habitat. The Department of Natural Resources recommends holding the deer population to 15 per square mile.

Overpopulation comes with an increased risk of Lyme disease for people and pets, and of course, damage to vehicles.

"They are wonderful animals to look at and everyone enjoys them, but we have plenty of them in the city of Clive," Parks and Recreation Director Kelly Canfield told the council.

Canfield said his department has received reports of Clive residents putting out mineral blocks, fruit and grain to attract deer to their yards.

"My hands are pretty well tied," he said. "I can't really go out and do anything with that."

If the ordinance is enacted, residents caught feeding deer will be given 24 hours to remove the deer feed before incurring a fine. The ordinance would create a $750 fine for the first time someone was found feeding deer, and a $1,000 fine for the second offense. Canfield said his department would hope to convince residents to stop feeding deer without having to actually fine anyone.

The ordinance would not prohibit bird feeders, which can sometimes attract deer. Nor would it prohibit fruit trees or vegetable gardens that deer might enjoy.
Urbandale enacted a similar ordinance in November 2007. Councilman Eric Klein said Urbandale's policy drove deer to neighboring cities where residents can still put out food for them.

"Inadvertently, we've become a magnet for more deer," Klein said.

Source: DeMoines Register

No comments: