Like to put your containers out the night before the garbage man comes? If so, there’s a chance doing that could lead to a $125 ticket in the near future.
The Snoqualmie City Council is set to have a new ordinance, regulating when garbage collection containers (non bear-resistant) can be placed curbside, introduced to them at tonight’s (April 28, 2014) meeting.
According to a past interview with Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) Officer, Chris Moszeter, there are two big factors that attract bears to local neighborhoods: 1) Location (Snoqualmie Ridge was constructed rural bear country); 2) Garbage containers (especially ones put out too early), which have driven the bear problem in recent years.
Bear Kills Family Dog
The bear activity issue came to a head in January when Steven and Cheryl Wood’s beloved family dog, Fritz, was killed by bear after chasing it from the family’s fenced backyard. The bear had been spotted two days prior carrying a neighbor’s garbage into the woods.
The incident happened in the Heights neighborhood, which is no stranger to bear activity. In September 2012, a Heights resident in the cottage home area (homes without garages to secures garbage containers), also shot and killed a bear on his property.
NEW Snoqualmie Garbage Regulation Ordinance
The Wood’s hope a new city-wide garbage regulation ordinance will help other families avoid the same tragedy they experienced – and reduce bear activity to reduce future public safety issues.
In the months since losing Fritz, the Woods met twice with the city’s Public Safety Meeting to discuss the increasing incidents of human/wildlife interaction due to residents’ garbage habits.
If the city council adopts the new law, which city staff is recommending, then Snoqualmie residents can put non bear-resistant garbage containers out at 6AM or later on their scheduled collection day – and those containers must be brought in by 7PM.
If residents don’t abide by the new law and their containers lead to ‘the negligent feeding of wildlife,’ they will be issued a formal warning notice. If the issue continues, they will be cited with a Class 2 civil infraction that comes with a $125 penalty.
The City of Snoqualmie will continue to work to educate residents about bear-resistant garbage containers available from Waste Management, as well as the importance of not putting out garbage containers too early.
Garbage Maintenance Key to Reducing Bear Activity
DFW Officer Chris Moszeter says garbage maintenance is key to reducing bear activity in neighborhoods everywhere. Many Snoqualmie Ridge residents still place containers curbside the night before garbage collection, which can attract bears and train them to associate humans with food.
Moszeter said bear activity in the Heights has decreased since city officials and Fish and Wildlife officers began educating residents on the importance of garbage container maintenance. In January during a nighttime Heights neighborhood patrol drive, Moszeter said he noticed a big reduction of containers curbside the night before garbage collection.
He said, though, unless other neighborhoods follow suit, the bear activity won’t go away – it will just move to a new location, so it’s important for everyone to become more vigilant about when they put garbage cans out.
According to the council meeting agenda, the new ordinance isn’t scheduled for action until the May 12th meeting. The April 28th city council meeting begins at 7PM at Snoqualmie City Hall, 38624 SE River Street.
You can read the full, proposed Regulation Of Garbage Collection ordinance HERE.