JEFFERSON — It’s now against the law in Jefferson to feed on purpose or incidentally deer, raccoons, feral cats, wild rabbits, wild turkeys or any other wildlife.
The ruling is part of an ordinance adopted by the city council in late February that went into effect immediately, said City Recorder Sarah Cook.
The ordinance was developed to regulate the keeping of domestic animals and to prevent wildlife from living inside the city limits and possibly becoming a public nuisance, she said.
Investigations into people feeding or harboring wildlife will be complaint-driven.
“We’ll look into noise, odors and property damage, and people will be warned first before being cited,” Cook said.
Violators could be fined between $100 and $500.
The ordinance states that “no person shall scatter or deposit any food or other attractants on public or private property with or without the intent of attracting and/or feeding wild animals.”
The ordinance also says “leaving food outside for any purpose, including for the purpose of feeding domestic animals and pets in a place where wild animals can access it, shall be a violation.”
Food, however, can be placed in live traps during the daytime to help capture feral cats for spaying or neutering.
And bird seed may be put in receptacles that are “reasonably designed to prevent, and do prevent” access to food by wild animals.
The ordinance also says “no person shall keep or maintain any livestock within a distance of 100 feet of any residence or dwelling occupied by one or more persons.”
The ordinance also addresses how many animals 4-H and FFA members can have at their homes.
An ordinance already allows up to two rabbits, fox or mink or up to 12 chickens but no roosters. An exemption allows for an additional 12 “small animals” of any combination per household, not per child.
So a family could have a total of 24 chickens with a permit or 14 rabbits, and so forth.
Cook said the ordinance is the city’s first attempt to restrict wild animals within the city limits. The council agreed to revisit the ordinance after a year to see how it’s working.
To help deal with a flock of about 50 wild turkeys that has taken up residence in Jefferson, the city will contact the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to arrange for permits to shoot the birds. Ten permits can be issued at a time.
A Marion County deputy will shoot the birds. The meat must be donated to an organization such as a food bank.