Are There Laws About Leaving Food Out for Wildlife in New York?
The world was recently left puzzled and even speechless following the discovery of 500 pounds of pasta randomly dumped in the woods in New Jersey.
Although the pasta appeared cooked, it only looked that way because of the recent rain. In actuality, the dumped raw pasta was enough to fill 15 wheelbarrows and all of it was cleaned up by public works employees who clearly drew the short straw that day.
The mystery of the pasta was cleared up when the neighbors of the dumper admitted what he'd done. His mom had died and he didn't know what to do with the copious amounts of pasta and so he decided to dump it in the woods for the animals to eat.
Should you ever find yourself in need of disposing of unused food in New York, maybe think twice before doing what the New Jersey pasta dumper did because not only is it illegal, but it can cause some huge problems not only for wildlife but also for humans.
According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Environmental Conservation Law 11-0505 says it is illegal to intentionally feed wild animals in New York.
The New York DEC says that when it comes to feeding white-tailed deer specifically, it can cause "unnatural concentrations near the food source, which can lead to ecological damage, damage to property, and an increased risk of transmission of disease between deer."
The DEC points out that when food is left out for animals to consume, they are less likely to search for a food source themselves. The DEC says "Feeding can cause more animals to survive than the natural habitat can support."
The DEC also notes that if food is not left out for wildlife regularly, some of the wildlife might starve to death, and here's another aspect many don't take into consideration - feeding wildlife can cause the animals to become more comfortable in residential areas or areas near roadways which can in turn cause vehicle collisions.
You might not want to even risk slipping some food scraps to your neighborhood wildlife because in New York, if you're caught, you face a $250 fine and 15 days in jail for each day of the offense.