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Deer-feeding ban adopted

The Ashland City Council has given its final approval for a new ordinance that makes it illegal to knowingly feed deer.

The feeding ban also covers wild turkeys, raccoons, bears, cougars, coyotes and wolves.

People can still feed wild birds, except for turkeys.

Councilors unanimously approved the ban on Tuesday night.

People who get caught knowingly feeding wildlife will get a written notification and then must remove the attractant within two days. People who don't comply can be cited for a Class 1 violation.

The total fine plus fees for a Class 1 violation can reach $435, according to Ashland Municipal Court staff.

People cannot knowingly place, distribute or store food, garbage or any other attractant to draw in deer or other wildlife listed in the ordinance.

Salt licks are examples of attractants that could lure wildlife.

Feeding wild animals habituates them to humans, resulting in more animal-versus-car collisions and damage to landscaping, gardens, fences and other structures, according to the ordinance.

Habituated animals also may aggressively defend their territory against people and pets.

Feeding wildlife attracts predators into town, the ordinance said.

Additionally, animals that cluster around feeding sites or salt licks are likely to spread painful and potentially deadly diseases to each other, according to biologists.

Earlier this year, the City Council approved new rules to allow residents to build taller deer fencing around their yards and gardens.

In October 2011, volunteers who fanned out across Ashland counted 187 deer in a half hour period at dawn.

The tally did not include deer that couldn't be seen because they were concealed in back yards, bedded down in vegetation or otherwise hidden from volunteers.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.