The House Agriculture and Natural Resources subcommittee on Tuesday, Feb. 10. have agreed to support bill, PCB ANRS 15-02, which restricts people from feeding wildlife animals.
Perpetrators can now face costly penalties for feeding specific wild life animals. Some fines may even charge offenders with a felony.
“I can see why this is an issue but at the same time if it comes down to me or a pack of cookies,” said Wadley Simon fourth year business student. “I would rather the bear enjoy the cookies.”
Authorities are carrying out these new penalties to educate the public of the dangers of feeding wild animals. The subcommittee hopes that the consequences would limit the reaction among people and wild animals.
First time offenders of this newly implemented bill will be given a “noncriminal infraction” carrying a $100 fine.
“I think implementing strict rules against feeding wild animals are great because kids need to understand that these animals are not pets and precautions should be taken,” said concerned mother, Linda Gaines.
The list of animals that are not to be fed includes bears, alligators, raccoons, bald eagles, pelicans and other wild animals.
Penalties begin with a simple fine but increases to a misdemeanor after a repeated offense. Habitual offenders will eventually obtain a felony criminal charge that can also include jail time.
These laws not only affect local Tallahassee residents but college students as well because of the wild animal sightings near the college campuses.
Last year a bear was spotted on Hermitage Boulevard which is just minutes away from the Florida A&M campus.
I can honestly say that knowing that a bear is that close to campus scares me,” said Nekia Love a second year nursing student. I hope these steps will lead to the bears going back into the woods safely.”
As far as human interactions with dangerous black bears, wildlife commissioners are also working on a draft rule that may allow bear hunting and hope to have a decision as early as the fall 2015.