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PhilRuffin and Gabby-smPhil Snyder, Executive Director

Press Articles

WILDLIFE – ENJOY, PROTECT – DO NOT FEED

englewood sun logoBy Phil Snyder, Executive Director Suncoast Humane Society

Published in the Englewood Sun on March 5, 2017

Local media reports that a community north of here wants the alligators removed from the waterways. Certain towns and villages claiming there are too many coyotes roaming around and they want them done in. Bobcats are creating controversy in some areas. Armadillos are digging up yards (including mine), and have developed a “hate group” following. Wild Hogs are deemed a nuisance animal and now have a bounty on their heads and hides.

Are there more of these creatures than ever before, or just more being seen, because we are taking their land, and hey, this is Florida. Perhaps many of us didn’t realize that these creatures come along with the “living in paradise” theme we all enjoy. Their kind was enjoying paradise long before we were here. Nature is unable to react as quickly as land developers, so for many species, their paradise is shrinking at an alarming rate.

We are told to keep trash and garbage receptacles tightly sealed, not to feed wildlife, and not to make any attempts to tame wild animals, directly or indirectly. Feeding wildlife or waterfowl not only causes unnatural behavior, it also leads to many other problems, like the spread of disease, pollution, overcrowding and public nuisance.
Placing food out in such a manner that attracts raccoons is against the law. The same may, and should be said of coyotes in the near future. Raccoons along with bats and foxes are highly susceptible to the deadly disease, rabies and should not be encouraged to interact with humans. Throwing food around your yard can also attract Vultures who travel in groups and have very acidic stomachs causing them to throw up everywhere they go. They can also cause damage by pecking the shingles on your roof and to the wires connected to your house.

Most of us that live year round in Florida are aware that it is unlawful to feed alligators. Even molesting or interfering with their normal pattern of life is a crime. The reasons should be obvious but do not seem to be. It does not seem to be well known that the US Wildlife Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife also takes a very strong stance on the feeding of waterfowl and wildlife such as ducks, geese, herons, egrets and sea gulls. These birds fly in and out of our lakes, ponds and channels. This means they also gather in our yards near the water. Food tossed about by humans is not species specific. It can attract most species of wildlife.

If you care for wildlife and their environment, please don’t feed them. Let’s help protect their wildness and their beauty. REMEMBER, they do not understand the problem, but we should.