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Is the New Wildlife Feeding Law Unfair to Birds? [Poll]

A new ordinance passed in November prohibits the feeding of wildlife on town-owned or operated property and puts new rules on bird feeders on private property.

If there is a bird feeder in your front or backyard and it's not at least five feet above the ground -- or if it's attracting a group of pesky squirrels -- you can consider yourself a lawbreaker.

A new wildlife feeding ordinance passed in November by the Stratford Town Council prohibits the feeding of wildlife (birds) that attracts rodents (squirrels). The ordinance also says bird feeders must be at least five feet above the ground.

The penalty for being found in violation of the new law is a written warning for the first offense, a $100 fine for the second offense, a $200 fine for the third offense and a $300 fine for all subsequent offenses.   

The ordinance also flat-out prohibits any feeding of wildlife in any public park or on any other property owned or operated by the town of Stratford.

Kathie Powell of Stratford Road spoke in favor of the ordinance at the Town Council's November meeting.

"We shouldn't be drawing in wildlife," said Powell, who had a neighbor who would place bowls of food on her property for wildlife, which is now prohibited under the new ordinance.

Stratford resident John O'Leary, who contacted Stratford Patch via email, said the ordinance is unfair to birds.

"It may be a bad winter for birds in Stratford this year if this ordinance as written is allowed to stand," O'Leary wrote in an email dated Dec. 8.

O'Leary said a Town Council member said the ordinance was supposed to exempt the feeding of birds. However, he said, the new law as written "specifically prohibits it if it attracts other wildlife or rodents."

Do you think the ordinance might create some "angry birds"? Let us know by voting in our poll.

Editor's note: The original article has been updated to include the name of the resident who emailed Stratford Patch.

Dom DeCicco December 11, 2011 at 03:15 PM
I wonder if there is any way to get the court date continued just to buy her some time so this issue can be sorted out first. Ninety year old woman getting pinched -- man, Connecticut Progressives are tough on crime. George are you aware of whether or not thier is an ordinance the prohibited allow cats to roam? Was it an animal control agent that pinched her? 1) for her own good. Does she have decent housing, warm, fed, able to care for herself and family in the area? 2) is she healthy enough and does she need social services? 3) is there a family member involved with assisting her with this case I believe the coalition for the aging would get involved to kind of help her through some of the problems she may be having.
George E. Mulligan December 11, 2011 at 04:13 PM
Dom, Lady called me Friday night. I spoke to her son & her neighbor, who concurred with the "alledged" situation of her being robbed by "the color of the law." - I am not a lawyer & I can't practice LAW. - The lady is a non stop talker, which is a LAWYER'S worst nightmare. - The lady is her own worst enemy, with faulty information, where she sought "pro bono legal representation," instead of "continguency legal representation." - The lady tried working discreetly within the mutually reinforcing system, where she thinks she has political pull (she doesn't) & right on her side (immaterial in the current system) - Once in court, E V E R Y T H I N G is in the hands of the JUDGE. The Town / State / Fed connections & experience can affect the docketing of the case which increases their chances for friendly Judges. The Judicial system has a corrupted jury selection process. This is due to professional legal due diligence to maximize success. - Lawyers, spies, & military are based on winning, not on paying fair. - I was called Friday 8:00 pm. Her court case is Monday 9:30 am. . I contacted multiple entities who have positions, abilities, & resources which I don't have. . I got permission for them to speak to each other. They have choices to work with each other or not. . During my work week, I will make some time to see if I can find effective assistance, IF everything is TRUE? - This IS STRATFORD. I am limited by HEARSAY.
Dude December 11, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Jimmy, when are you going to pay your 2010 real estate taxes? And why isn't your car registered in Stratford? (Maybe it's a DEA "loaner")
pat December 11, 2011 at 06:39 PM
This is a tempest in a teapot. One of the joys in life for many people, is to be able to feed wildlife. I never miss a morning of feeding birds and squirrels. I have the joy of watching squirrels and birds enjoying a decent meal. I buy special food for both in a bird/wildlife feed store. I am sure there are people out there who object to this. I do not hear any complaints from my neighbors. If we do not help our wildlife, we will not have any. We have lost so much - let's support what we have left. I used to have coyote, foxes, turkey vultures --- all gone. Now I have a huge housing project, instead.
pat December 11, 2011 at 06:42 PM
I agree, Shirley. There are some things that are not the business of the town council. Let's see, when is the next election day?
pat December 11, 2011 at 06:49 PM
Dog catchers are dog catchers because they love their work; Capturing lovely dogs and putting them to death because their owners abandoned them. I used to feed stray cats, btu also trapped them and brought them to a humane and generous vet who spayed/.neutered them free of charge. I then released them and continued to feed them. I had shelters built for them by inmates in a local prison. The offenders did this in carpentry shop It was a win-win. Because the animals could no longer reproduce, there are no more now. Win/win. No one was hurt or killed. I think this was the right way to go.
pat December 11, 2011 at 06:58 PM
First we take away their habitat and put a housing development or a highway on it, then we prohibit them from returning to it. We are a cruel race.
Lisa December 11, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Several years back the Town Council along with the Health Department tried to pass an ordinance on how many animals you were allowed to have in your home. Even though it was ultimately thrown out, I stood before them and asked who they thought they were to tell me what I can and cannot do in my own home. Having said that I then proceeded to ask that if so, then who shall I send my mortgage payments to. I would ask the same question again to those who sat on the Town Council when this ordinance passed. I will be more than happy to forward my January property tax bill to each of them for payment. If I want to feed the birds on my private property that is my choice. At some point people need mind their own business….
Jason Bagley (Editor) December 12, 2011 at 03:03 AM
Dom + George, I have been communicating with the 90-year-old woman's daughter and will follow up on her court appearance and overall situation tomorrow.
Dom DeCicco December 12, 2011 at 04:15 AM
No, I understand and appreciate that. Maybe we will bump in to one another at the Library and have time to go over it further.
Robert Chambers December 12, 2011 at 01:37 PM
The idiotic town council can't have it both ways. They need to repeal the stupid ban on air rifles and such if they want to reduce the rodent population. I'm sure birds can find food in my yard and if the squirrels come and eat the stuff that falls from "over 5 feet up" then I can't help that. Perhaps the town can stop pissing my tax money away on lawyers fighting the airport and get Main St elevated finally or stop trying to force the closure of the airport runways. Of all the things this town needs to worry about, bird feeders really?!?!?!!?!
Mike December 12, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Hey Jim, you are a lawyer. How about helping this old lady? She badly needs representation, and she isn't capable of fighting this herself. Call me. I was your sister's neighbor. You know who I am.
Linda December 13, 2011 at 03:34 AM
I agree! It's what some people have that makes their lives a little pleasureable. Watching birds and squirrels at the feeders. What you do in your own yard is no ones business!
Linda December 13, 2011 at 03:35 AM
Thanks for the info Gringo man. But I feel better knowing when it's bitter cold out that I gave a poor bird or squirrel something good to eat that day.
George E. Mulligan December 13, 2011 at 04:11 AM
This blog of Town Council Ordinance against FEEDING WILD ANIMALS is where I learned of 90 year old lady's issues. Much smells about this situation. It wasn't/isn't a smell in the lady's home, but about multiple issues. 1 - Was there probable cause to confront lady with 18 cats in her home, which were NOT let outside? How could anyone know to complain? 2- Was there "COLOR of the LAW," threat of arrest? 3 - If contact was NOT written by Town Attorney's office as stated to me by Town Attorney Tim Bishop, WHO wrote it & WHY? Is it legal? enforceable? 4 - Was Contract signed under duress? Threat of arrest? 5 - WHY would the town PAY to put people up Hotel for a week? 6 - Was ANY cleaning work actually done? 7 - When were pictures taken, IF there are pictures, (CLOTHING & ANTIQUES) with urine & feces? A) Could pictures be staged, when Lady & her son were in Hotel? B) Can't clean Sewing Machine & Metal? 8 - WHY were cheap pieces of furniture bought & paid by Town? 9 - Were CLOTHING & ANTIQUES stolen under "COLOR of the LAW?" 10 - Town Attorney Bishop was unaware: A) Park next door was owned by the Town. Mayor Miron sought as possible SITE for ANIMAL SHELTER. B) Attorney's Secretary Gail Nobili overheard our conversation & CONFIRMED Mayor James Miron discovered abutting Town Owned property for Animal Shelter. C) This LADY was involved discovering HUD Documents (town misplaced) preventing site to be ANIMAL SHELTER, saving Town Millions to pay HUD back.
Gringo_man December 13, 2011 at 04:41 AM
They're perfectly capable of finding their own food. If they can't find food then the population takes a hit for that year. It's a natural cycle. If there are too many competing for food during adverse conditions, the weaker will die. It's how weaker genes are removed from the gene pool.
Shirley B. Backus December 13, 2011 at 05:29 AM
Gringo Man needs a reality check. Our area's wildlife is no longer able to feed itself because their habitat has been replaced with our developments! Nearly all of the woodlots in Stratford are gone: Linda's Run now sits where a massive woodland, complete with wetlands, was only a few years ago. Also gone is a woodlot that once fed a wide variety of wildlife now paved over for Paradise Court. This was a delightful little place that contained everything our wildlife needed: wetlands, meadow, dense big trees, black berries, raspberries, blueberries, milkweed, etc. - all gone for the sake of a few houses on a steep hill. Even more recently is the woodlot on HIghland Avenue which provided wildlife with mature trees and brush in which to nest and forage for food. There isn't much left for the wildlife now. There's no place for them to go anymore. We, the people, have destroyed their way of life. It's only fair that we provide for them. Bring back the woodlots so the wildlife can feed itself, then we can talk about stopping our assistance to them. The loss of all these mature trees also contributed to the global warming problem, as well as the decrease of oxygen and increase of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. We can't afford to lose any more open space - and neither can the wildlife.
Mike December 13, 2011 at 06:04 PM
This contract was signed under the threat of arrest. They convinced her she is a criminal.
George E. Mulligan December 13, 2011 at 06:57 PM
Shirley - The new Zoning change for Keating Ford (my blog) shows you Modus Operendi, cutting open space, by SPECIAL PROJECT ZONING.
Gringo_man December 14, 2011 at 02:21 AM
I don't need a reality check. My college education included biology and various wildlife courses. I understand that habitat loss is a major problem, but bringing so many animals together can spread disease between the animals. Feeding them in suburban areas increases or maintains an abnormally high population in close contact with humans. They lose their natural fear of humans and come to close which can result in attacks on humans or spread of disease to humans. Feeding wild animals is not beneficial to them in any way. It may help a few individual animals that may be struggling, but is detrimental to various species as a whole. Most people feed wild animals out of a selfish desire to see them up close and try to justify it as helping the animals.
Shirley B. Backus December 14, 2011 at 04:10 AM
Uh, hey George, how about a translation? What does the development of Keating Ford have to do with open space and/or feeding wildlife in our own back yards?
Shirley B. Backus December 14, 2011 at 04:17 AM
A little common sense goes a long way, Gringo Man. Wildlife can be fed away from the house in such a way that they are not in contact with people, and don't associate the food with having come from people. Leaving them to starve is what causes them to get sick and spread disease. They can't find food for themselves anymore because there is no place left for them to forage. Creating a bit of open space in one's back yard, with a birdbath or two, and some food-bearing brush and trees would go a long way toward helping, but when there is no open space, they are doomed if we cannot provide something for them during the winter months.
Tom December 14, 2011 at 12:24 PM
HEY TOWN COUNCIL!!!! DUMB MOVE!!! (AGAIN) you're kidding me right? lets not address important issues but instead create minutia based, feel good ordinances! i measured the bird feeder today only 4 feet! come get me big brother!!!!
Tom December 14, 2011 at 02:12 PM
Why don't we talk about real issues: such as the Make Your Day Program being slipped into the schools. Why don't we talk about the money that Lone Pine Capital keeps giving our schools and what they want -- flex-grouping.
Gringo_man December 14, 2011 at 09:07 PM
Creating a micro-habitat on a large enough property with plants that are natural forage isn't the same thing as putting plates of food out for the neighborhood squirrels and raccoons. Even small feeders for song birds aren't that bad as long as they are placed so other critters can't get at them. Even one of my biology/wildlife professors had bird feeders up on campus but they were targeted at specific species of song bird.
Linda December 15, 2011 at 02:40 AM
Shirley your posts are the most intelligent around here! I couldn't agree with you more! Some people are just animal haters PERIOD! Atleast we care. I still worry about those feral cats that live near the elderly lady. Hope they come up our way. I'll feed them!
Shirley B. Backus December 15, 2011 at 03:54 AM
Thank you, Linda. Why don't all these folks who don't like our wildlife move to a New York Condo where they won't have to worry about it?
max December 15, 2011 at 01:58 PM
Let's match the "wild cats" against the "wild life" eating from the low hanging bird feeders and let nature take it course. Keep the politicians out of the situation.
Paula December 16, 2011 at 12:20 PM
I'm with you, Shirley.
George E. Mulligan December 16, 2011 at 01:43 PM
90 year old lady & son could be arrested & fined $ 10,000? $ 35,000 property taken or destroyed? What could be next? Will their home be stolen? Sad?

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