Deer-besieged town’s no-feeding ordinance goes into effect April 8

First-time offenders will receive a warning. Any further offenses will incur a fine of $150.

An ordinance prohibiting the feeding of all wildlife — except for birds — within Coupeville town limits will be effective starting April 8.

The town council and the mayor have spent the past few months discussing the local deer population and its impact on yards, dog-walking and overall comfort levels of citizens who encounter them. Citizens and council members alike shared concerns about the resident ungulates behaving aggressively at times.

A no-feeding ordinance was proposed to discourage the deer from congregating in large numbers, trampling yards and defecating and urinating excessively around homes.

Another goal of the new ordinance is to prevent further domestication of the Coupeville deer, which can be a danger to moving vehicles.

“They just stand in a row,” Mayor Molly Hughes said during a recent town council meeting. “They don’t move for cars. They’re just completely domesticated at that point.”

A public hearing was held on the no-feeding ordinance last week. Although no citizens commented during the hearing, Hughes shared emails from citizens that she said were mainly in support of the ordinance.

Besides deer, the ordinance also covers other forms of wildlife, such as squirrels and raccoons, and feral animals, such as cats.

First-time offenders will receive a warning. Any further offenses will incur a fine of $150.

The ordinance was unanimously adopted during the March 23 town council meeting.

Hughes said a utility bill going out to Coupeville residents April 1 will include details about the new ordinance, which will be enforced starting April 8.

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