Those innocent breadcrumbs you give to squirrels in the park will now land you a hefty fine. The City has announced a new wildlife bylaw in Toronto and it took effect this past Saturday, April 1st.
Feeding wildlife is now prohibited on all public and private property in an effort to improve the welfare of local animals.
The bylaw applies to all animals, including squirrels and pigeons, in all areas of the city including your own backyard.
“Feeding wildlife can lead to public safety issues and negatively affect wildlife and the broader ecosystem,” said the City in a statement.
“It is also the most prevalent cause of any conflict between [coyotes and foxes] and humans and their pets.”
According to the City, feeding wild animals increases their presence and “causes them to lose their fear of people, creating problems for both the wildlife and our neighbourhoods.”
Not only that, but human food is also “very unhealthy” for wild animals.
There is only one exception to the new wildlife bylaw in Toronto.
Residents are still allowed to feed songbirds using bird feeders on their property.
This exception only applies if the birdfeeder is kept clean and does not attract other wildlife.
According to the Toronto Star, the fine for feeding wildlife could cost hundreds of dollars.
So, if you want to avoid a ticket, do yourself and the squirrels a favour and keep your snacks to yourself, no matter how cute they look.