Garbage left out overnight? There's a hefty fine for that - InfoNews

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Garbage left out overnight? There's a hefty fine for that

The Central Okanagan has seen a surge in bear conflict reports this season.
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October 10, 2019 - 9:00 AM

Interior residents who leave their garbage out overnight or fruit rotting on their trees could face stiff fines as the B.C. Conservation Officer Service ramp up enforcement on those whose actions lead to bears being killed.

With tickets for leaving garbage out overnight starting at $230, B.C. Conservation Officer Service Sgt. Jeff Hanratty hopes a "hardline" approach to those who break the rules will result in fewer bears being euthanized.

"It's really important to us and the Ministry of the Environment to stop attracting these bears and training them to overcome their fears," Hanratty said. "We've got to stop habituating these bears, we've got to stop destroying these bears."

Hanratty said the Conservation Officer Service is doing rolling patrols, identifying hotspots and dealing with historic non-compliant areas.

In just a few hours. conservation officers dished out 15 warnings and 25 Dangerous Wildlife Orders during an audit of several hundred properties in a subdivision in Salmon Arm yesterday, Oct. 8.

"It is an offence under the wildlife act to leave out an attractant," Hanratty said.

The most common offence is leaving garbage out the night before collection and not picking fruit from trees.

Along with a $230 fine, residents can also be handed a Dangerous Wildlife Protection order, where Conservation Officer Service officers have a legal right to order somebody to do something like remove fruit.

If a person fails to act within the given timeframe on the order, often 24 or 48 hours, the person gets a $575 ticket. Following this, Conservation Officers do have more powers, and people can end up in court for failing to follow the rules. 

While tickets are issued based on officer discretion and every situation is looked at individually, Hanratty said they are taking a tougher approach to enforcement for those who leave out bear attractants.

While the province as a whole has seen 50 per cent more bears destroyed this year over last, figures in the interior have remained roughly the same.

While residents in the Thompson-Okanagan aren't getting worse, Hanratty says the status quo simply isn't good enough.


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