Laws of Feeding Wild Animals in California

Written by: Bridgewest

Laws-on-Feeding-Wild-Animals-in-California.jpgMost wild animals are beautiful and a lot of people enjoy seeing them in their natural environment. However, when they become accustomed to receiving food, they can change their natural behavior and lose the fear of humans. Residents or tourists who feed wild animals in California are subject to the laws that expressly prohibit this type of activity and can be accused of an infraction. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can offer you complete assistance and legal counseling regarding the applicable laws, which can also apply to different types of animals, from small predatory mammals to big game.

You can talk to one of our lawyers if you are unsure of the laws that apply in case you have been in contact with wildlife in your region. Interacting with animals can be existing, however, it is never pleasurable if you are subject to fines and other penalties for having done so. California is a state where wildlife is abundant in some regions and knowing the extent to which you can interact with animals can be useful.

California state regulations concerning feeding wild animals

The California Code of Regulations prohibits feeding big mammals (including bears and deer) and also makes it illegal to harass or herd animals. Harassment refers to all and any intentional act that disrupts the natural behavior of a certain wild animal. It also includes feeding and even sheltering the animal. The law does not apply discretionarily: it is illegal to feed even non-predatory mammals like deer.
The fact that many homeowners have made it a habit to feed small birds can be considered an exemption to this rule to some extent because, in most cases, installing a reasonably small bird feeder will not interfere with the natural normal behavior of the local birds. These Regulations can be used and will be used in those cases where feeding wild animals become problematic.
The California Code of Regulations Title 14, the chapter concerning the Harassment of animals contains a special section that refers to the act of disrupting normal behavior patterns (for nongame birds or mammals), however, it does specify an exemption to this rule in as that it does not apply to a landowner or a tenant who engages in activities meant to heard or drive away mammals or birds, with the intention to prevent the damage that these creatures may inflict on public property (included here are also aquaculture and agriculture crops). A special section of the California Fish and Game Code also prohibits the intentional feeding of big game mammals. Big game includes the following types of animals: deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, wild pig, black bear, and Nelson bighorn sheep. 
The Mammal Hunting regulations also refer to those situations in which feeding wild animals, particularly big game mammals as defined above, cannot be used as a chance to hunt them (in this case, with a bow and arrow during the season). In a particular chapter, it is stated that no individual is allowed to attempt to hunt a bear within 400 yards of bait or garbage dump. 
Food and food scraps are not to be left for wild animals. Individuals should also be aware that food for domesticated animals must not be left during the night in an area that is accessible to predators (includes coyotes, raccoons, foxes, opossums, bears, mountain lions, bobcats).
Law ordinances in some states may allow individuals to feed wild animals but only in some cases. The Los Angeles County has a set of animal law ordinances that allow for the feeding of animals in some limited cases but also prohibit the provision of food to certain species of rodents or predatory animals. The situations in which an individual may feed a wild animal in Los Angeles County are the following:
- the individual is the rightful owner of a non-domesticated rodent or predatory mammal and can prove this with a valid certificate issued by the California Department of Fish and Game.
- when the animal is trapped or injured, between the time the individual finds the animal and the moment when the animal control arrives at the scene to collect the rodent or mammal. 
In all other cases, feeding non-domesticated rodents or mammals is prohibited. For the purpose of the law, in general, the term rodent will include and refer to ground squirrels and the team predatory mammal will include and refer to coyotes, raccoons, foxes, and opossums. 
Violations of the legal provisions for not feeding non-domesticated rodents and/or predatory mammals as are considered infractions in the county of Los Angeles.
This can be regulated at a county level. It is important to talk to a local specialist in order to determine if certain rules apply to a state or a county level. Our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers can help you with information if you live in Los Angeles County.
Individuals living in areas where wildlife encounters are plentiful can visit the online portal of the California Fish and Game Commission and even get in touch with a team of wildlife experts who can help them understand how to report the presence of wild animals or even incidents that may occur.

Liability for injuries caused by wildlife explained by our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys

Individuals living in California may care for a wild animal provided that a valid license is obtained from the California State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Those who are the legal owners or guardians of wild animals are fully liable for the actions of the animal and, if another individual is injured by the wild animal, a lawsuit can be filed against the owner for personal injury.
Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can help you if you have been injured by a wild animal owned by another individual in California. Wildlife incidents should be reported to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. If you have been involved in such an accident, you may be entitled to compensations.

Preventing wildlife from foraging for food and observing the Californian laws

People living in California can take a number of steps to ensure that they limit the access of rodents and other big or small mammals to the neighborhood. By limiting animal access to food, water, and shelter, the chances of being sanctioned under the California Fish and Game Code are reduced. Some of the good practices include the following:
- reducing access to pet food at night or prohibiting it altogether.
- securing garbage cans or storing them inside, in a secure area.
- harvesting the gardens and picking up fruit frequently so as they do not attract animals.
- sealing up entry holes; these can be found in decks, under buildings or even in decks; small modifications can prohibit wild animals from entering the premises.
- eliminating worms and insects that may be living in the subsoil as they can attract some animal species.
- trimming the branches of trees so as they do not reach the roof of the house; eliminating any other climbing plants is also an option;
- avoid any intentional act of leaving food and water for wildlife outside; remember that the only acceptable situation in which you can feed an animal is when it is injured and awaiting specialized aid from animal control. 
You can contact our  Los Angeles personal injury lawyers for more information on wildlife laws in California.