CANNON BEACH — Although it may be tempting to feed cute wild animals, Cannon Beach is calling an end to it.
City councilors approved an ordinance Tuesday night making it illegal to feed wild animals. The restrictions include people placing food on their property for the animals.
Wild animals are described as birds, raccoons, squirrels, opossums and rabbits, among others.
Although rabbits have historically raised havoc in Cannon Beach, they are not the only ones people are feeding. “I think the rabbits were just the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Mayor Sam Steidel said.
Warrenton passed a similar ordinance in 2016 to discourage people from feeding elk. Gearhart followed earlier this year.
For Cannon Beach, it’s about not attracting wild animals and educating the public on why it is harmful to feed them.
The ordinance would classify attracting or feeding wildlife as a public nuisance. The violation will be a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500.
For the first year, the city will enforce the ban through warnings and education, but after that, people will start being cited.
People are still allowed to feed songbirds as long as the food is in a container that prevents access from wild animals.
People can also continue to feed wild animals they have kept under a valid permit issued by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Steidel said people have been thinking about an ordinance for a while. More recently, residents grew frustrated with people feeding seagulls because it creates a mess and is costly to clean.
“Also there’s an aspect of being healthy for the animals,” he said. “If you start feeding them all french fries, it’s not natural for them.”