The days of throwing Thrasher’s fries at voracious seagulls may soon be over for Rehoboth Beach goers, as the city is pushing to ban people from feeding the birds.
If you’re caught chucking food at the squawking sky beasts, you could be fined anywhere from $5 to $50. Repeat offenders could be slapped with up to a $200 fine.
And yes, that includes letting your kids hand out the goods.
The city already has signs warning folks not to feed seagulls, but several people have ignored them through the years, making a mess on the beach by throwing food up for the birds to catch, Mayor Paul Kuhns said.
“You’re sitting there with your family, maybe having a sandwich, and the birds start to prey on you,” Kuhns said.
The new ordinance, which hasn’t yet been voted on, cites harm to the gull and aggressive behavior as reasons for the ban. It includes several rules on animal care and prohibitions.
“If you speak to any wildlife people, they tell you not to feed the birds, whether they’re seagulls or geese,” Kuhns said.
Scoop the poop or pay the price
Rehoboth Beach also wants you to scoop your pooch’s poop or face a fine of up to $250.
And you can’t get rid of it in a manner that would contaminate the ocean or bay.
City officials included the feces removal rule in the animal ordinance — which they may vote on as soon as mid-January — in a bid to enforce cleanup.
The new rule doesn’t apply to a guide dog, hearing dog or ADA-recognized service dog accompanying a person with a disability.
Other Rehoboth rules for dogs, cats, goats
The city is also set to shorten the required leash length for dogs from 8 feet to 6 feet for safety reasons.
And Rehoboth farmers beware: Livestock would no longer be allowed within city limits, even if maintained in an enclosure. You’ll have to get your fresh eggs, bacon and goat milk from the farmers market instead.
Rehoboth commissioners want to increase fines on vicious pet violations. If your vicious fur ball bites or injures another person or animal, or if it isn’t leashed and humanely muzzled on public property, you could be fined anywhere from $250 to $500.
The city will deem your pet a vicious animal if it has habitually attacked, bitten or injured a human or animal.
And abandoning an animal, including under emergencies like natural disasters, would officially be deemed unlawful under the city ordinance.
“What I think people need to do is make sure they’re thinking about their neighbors, their friends, the people walking on the boardwalk,” Kuhns said of the new rules. “That’s the right thing to do for everyone.”
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