City of New Braunfels: “Don’t Feed the Wildlife!”

Courtesy of City of New Braunfels

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — As concerns about the deer population in New Braunfels continue, the City of New Braunfels is reminding you that there is an established ordinance prohibiting the feeding of wildlife. The ordinance (Sections 82-24 to 82-28) was approved by New Braunfels City Council in 2018 and added specific language prohibiting anyone from intentionally feeding wildlife by placing food on the ground or within reach of any wildlife, including deer, ducks, geese, and squirrels. 

This ordinance applies to the entire city limits, including public parks, private property, and green spaces. Placing any food, like corn, fruit, oats, hay, nuts, wheat, alfalfa, salt blocks, feed, grain, vegetables, or commercially sold wildlife/livestock feed is strictly prohibited.

Violators are subject to a citation and fine of up to $500 for each violation. The only exceptions to the ordinance are bird feeders with bird food that are placed a minimum of 5-feet off the ground, property owners who have a Land Hunting Permit, and approved wildlife management programs.

“Food from humans provides a false sense of abundance for animals, resulting in significant breeding and repopulation even though the current population isn’t very healthy and the food that they are given is often harmful to them,” said New Braunfels Public Works Director Greg Malatek. “For example, the jaws and teeth of deer are designed to chew soft vegetation, not pick up feed corn from a flat surface which then leads to sores and wounds. And corn, in particular, has no nutritional value for deer. It’s basically like feeding them candy.”

While the intent of the ordinance is to prohibit the intentional feeding of all wildlife in the city, New Braunfels officials are particularly concerned about the deer population because of a number of health and safety issues. Providing food and water causes deer to become dependent on those resources at that location, which often leads to property damage, including vehicle damage. On average, the City’s Animal Welfare and Rescue Division handles approximately 500 deceased deer annually, the majority of which have been struck by vehicles. 

It should also be noted that high concentrations of wildlife in an area lead to high amounts of animal waste in that area, which contains harmful bacteria that can pollute waterways when washed away by rain, causing bacteria pollution in the Comal River and Dry Comal Creek. 

This reminder about the prohibition on feeding wildlife in the city limits comes ahead of an increase in enforcement this summer. Beginning in July, city park rangers, animal welfare officers, and code enforcement officers will begin an increased effort to issue warnings and, if necessary, citations for those that choose to continue to feed wildlife on their property or in public parks.

 Learn more about the wildlife feeding ordinance in New Braunfels by clicking here.

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