Many people think they’re being kind when feeding wildlife. Unfortunately, feeding wildlife can not only cause issues with bringing unwanted wildlife and stray animals into residential communities, doing so is illegal in the state of California.
Feeding wildlife can also cause unnatural, and often massive overpopulation problems. Eventually, unnaturally high populations of wildlife are unable to sustain their numbers, even with someone feeding them, and illnesses (some of which may be transmissible to humans) and death can be the result. The property damage caused by an overpopulation of squirrels, rabbits, or other rodents can reach into the many thousands of dollars. An increase in rodents also draws in larger predators, such as snakes, coyotes, bobcats, and even mountain lions.
Laws related to feeding wildlife in California (and San Bernardino county) are as follows:
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY
TITLE 3: HEALTH AND SANITATION AND ANIMAL REGULATIONS
DIVISION 2: ANIMALS
CHAPTER 13: ANIMAL FOOD AND FOOD SCRAPS
§ 32.1301 Food Left Outside for Certain Mammalian Predators. (a) No person shall feed or in any manner provide food for one or more non-domesticated mammalian predators. A non-domesticated mammalian predator shall include coyotes, raccoons, foxes, opossums, bears, mountain lions, and bobcats.
§ 32.1302 Food Left Outside for Any Animal During Certain Hours. No person shall leave or permit to be left out-of-doors food for any animal between the hours of 10:00 p.m. of any one day and 6:00 a.m. of the following day, unless the area where the food is left is not accessible to non-domesticated mammalian predators.
§ 32.1303 Garbage Containing Food Scraps. No person shall leave or permit to be left out-of-doors any garbage containing food scraps without first securing said food scraps in closed containers.
§251.1. Harassment of Animals. Except as otherwise authorized in these regulations or in the Fish and Game Code, no person shall harass, herd or drive any game or nongame bird or mammal or furbearing mammal. For the purposes of this section, harass is defined as an intentional act which disrupts an animal’s normal behavior patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, breeding, feeding or sheltering. This section does not apply to a landowner or tenant who drives or herds birds or mammals for the purpose of preventing damage to private or public property, including aquaculture and agriculture crops.
§251.3. Prohibition Against Feeding Big Game Mammals. No person shall knowingly feed big game mammals, as defined in Section 350 of these regulations