The Joliet City Council on Tuesday will consider a $500 fine for feeding wild animals and waterfowl.
A new ordinance was created to deal specifically with complaints about wild animals, geese and other waterfowl being attracted into neighborhoods when people put out food for them.
“We’re not talking about handfuls. We’re talking about buckets of food,” City Attorney Marty Shanahan, discussing a particular situation when the council’s Land Use and Legislative Committee discussed the proposal earlier this month.
“Efforts to curb the feeding have been unsuccessful,” Shanahan told the committee, adding that the city has been getting complaints for two or three years.
Several residents from the Autumn Lakes subdivision came to the June 6 committee meeting urging that something be done.
Since that meeting, a woman in another part of the city was cited by Joliet police for feeding feral cats and raccoons despite being told to stop.
The incident occurred in the Criswell Trailer Park off Route 30. Police said a Joliet Township Animal Control officer had been to the woman’s home more than once trying to stop her from feeding animals.
The city has the authority to cite such incidents under a nuisance complaint. The new ordinance creates a specific offense for feeding wild animals. Staff originally proposed a $150 fine, but the committee decided to increase it to $500.
The ordinance excludes bird-feeding “using a well-maintained elevated bird feeder; a feeder which generally protects seeds against the weather.”
The ordinance defines wild animal as “an animal, which is not normally domesticated in this state, including but not limited to coyotes, deer, feral cats, foxes, groundhogs, opossums, raccoons, skunks and waterfowl.”
Waterfowl are defined as “any wild bird that frequents the water, or lives about rivers, lakes, ponds, etc., or on or near the sea; an aquatic fowl, including but not limited to ducks, geese, and gulls.”
The ordinance states that feeding wild animals and waterfowl can lead to property damage and the spread of disease.