Esquimalt’s wildlife bylaws nearing completion

It will soon be illegal to feed deer and eastern grey squirrels

It will soon be illegal to feed eastern grey squirrels and deer in Esquimalt.

The township is updating two of its bylaws to prevent people from intentionally feeding or leaving food out for the nuisance critters.

Those offenders who don’t stop putting out snacks could be slapped with $100 fines by municipal bylaw enforcement officers.

But even with the power to levy these fines, there is still concern over possible enforcement challenges.

“Not only will we need to prove that someone intentionally fed a squirrel, we will need to prove that they fed an eastern grey squirrel, not a red squirrel,” Barbara Snyder, Esquimalt’s director of development services, wrote in a report to council.

Public education should be the primary tool to deter people from feeding wild animals, rather than bylaw enforcement, she advised.

Council approved more steps in the process last week, and will need to provide final approval before the changes become official.