Don’t feed these animals in Mississauga, residents have said

By Declan Finucane

Published on April 7, 2022 at 1:11 p.m.

People are asked not to feed wildlife in Mississauga as this practice can lead to many problems. (Photo: City of Mississauga)

Mississauga officials are pleading with the public not to feed the city’s wild animals, noting that such activity endangers animals as well as people and their pets.

The city of Mississauga says it has received numerous reports of residents feeding wild animals in various parts of the city.

As Mississauga Animal Services officers continue to educate residents as they patrol areas of the city where intentional feeding is a problem, they are also warning people that hefty fines are possible.

Under Mississauga’s Animal Care and Control Bylaws, feeding wildlife, including leaving food outdoors, wasting food, and dumping food in natural areas, is illegal and punishable by law. a minimum fine of $300.

Although coyotes are making headlines, city officials say the list of wild animals people shouldn’t feed also includes everything from ducks and other birds to foxes, raccoons, squirrels and chipmunks.

“While it may seem harmless to feed ducks or let raccoons roam in a green bin, it has a significant impact on the community as wild animals develop a tolerance for the approach of humans looking for food. food,” a city official said in a statement. “Feeding wildlife in Mississauga is in no way recommended.

“The continued feeding of wildlife has already started to impact communities, as we’ve seen with an uptick in recent coyote sightings,” the official continued. “We are working to remind residents how important it is not to feed wildlife, no matter what the situation. »

The city says the bottom line is that feeding wild animals, big and small, does far more harm than good.

“You might think you’re helping a poor little animal find food, but you’re only making a bigger problem worse. More wildlife like robins, squirrels and chipmunks are becoming dependent on humans for food,” Mississauga officials say.

“If you feed wild animals like bread, nuts or leftovers, chances are someone else will too. It only conditions these animals to rely on humans to provide them with food. As a result, wildlife will begin to care less about finding their own food and become more dependent on humans.

The City warns that feeding wild animals can cause animals to:

  • become dependent on artificial food sources and stop foraging naturally. It is not healthy and can lead to illness or disease
  • lose their natural fear of humans and pets and become more likely to approach you
  • congregate in large numbers when food is readily available, leading to more disease and can destroy natural habitats

Animal services say wild animals like raccoons, birds, foxes and coyotes should always seek food and shelter on their own. This is important, they note, because it helps wildlife develop and maintain their natural adaptive skills for long-term survival.

“It is also important that wildlife do not scavenge properties for food or become aggressive, expecting food when they encounter humans,” the city said.

City officials say the feeding of wild animals also negatively impacts people by:

  • attract other unwanted pests such as rats and mice, which can attract larger predators such as coyotes which can prey on neighborhood pets
  • increased harmful wildlife activity and unsanitary conditions, such as raccoons taking up residence in attics, skunks digging under shelters, or bird droppings that can damage property and pose a health hazard health
  • inviting animals into urban areas and putting them at risk of being hit by vehicles and causing accidents, resulting in property damage, injury or death
  • pose a health risk when animals get too close to you if they carry diseases like rabies

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Jennifer R. Strohm