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Local News

Joliet law against feeding wild animals advances again

Geese gather in Pilcher Park in Joliet.
Geese gather in Pilcher Park in Joliet.

Joliet resident Stephanie Feehan told a City Council committee Tuesday about geese feces, skunk spray and other wild animal messes in her neighborhood.

Feehan was the latest resident of the Autumn Lakes subdivision urging the committee to move forward with an ordinance aimed at a particular neighbor they say is overfeeding the animals.

“When I mow my grass, my mower blade and my shoes are covered in feces,” Feehan said. “Dogs are sprayed all the time by skunks.”

Feehan was joined by fellow Autumn Lakes resident Fred Holzrichter, who later said that the homeowners’ association has tried unsuccessfully to curb the resident’s feeding habits. Residents, he said, hired a trapper to get some control of the numbers of skunks and other animals.

The Legislative and Land Use Committee voted, 3-0, to recommend approval of the latest version of the ordinance to ban the feeding of wild animals and waterfowl after it was tweaked to avoid what city attorney Marty Shanahan called “unintended consequences.”

“What we’re trying to do is eliminate the mass feeding of wild animals or wildlife,” Shanahan said.

The ordinance includes a $500 fine for violations.

The committee, which heard from another group of Autumn Lakes residents in June, had previously recommended approval of the ordinance. But it was delayed after city officials got calls and emails.

The previous version could have technically been read to ban the occasional feeding of wild ducks with a single piece of bread, Shanahan said. The ordinance also makes clear that bird feeders remain permissible.

Councilman Donald Dickinson said he’s visited the subdivision and called the situation “a mess.”

“Something has to be done,” Dickinson said. “It’s ridiculous out there.”

The ordinance will be on the agenda for a full City Council vote on Tuesday.

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