Don’t feed the wildlife in New Braunfels, officials warn. Here’s why.

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – Deer, ducks, geese, and squirrels are nature’s lovely creatures, and you may want to feed their cute little faces. But the City of New Braunfels is reminding people not to feed the wildlife, and there’s a good reason for it.

Approved in 2018, an ordinance in the city bans anyone from “intentionally feeding by placing food on the ground or within reach of any wildlife.”

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The ordinance applies to all wildlife within city limits. That includes the following:

  • public parks
  • private property
  • green spaces

People are prohibited from placing any of the following food out for wildlife to eat:

  • salt blocks
  • vegetables
  • commercially sold wildlife/livestock feed

“Food from humans provides a false sense of abundance for animals, resulting in significant breeding and repopulation even though the current population isn’t very healthy and the food that they are given is often harmful to them,” stated Greg Malatek, New Braunfels public works director. “For example, the jaws and teeth of deer are designed to chew soft vegetation, not pick up feed corn from a flat surface, which then leads to sores and wounds. And corn, in particular, has no nutritional value for deer. It’s basically like feeding them candy.”

Anyone who violates the ordinance could face a citation of up to $500 for each occurrence.

The city said bird feeders are an exception. They must contain bird food and be placed at least 5 feet off the ground. Property owners with a Land Hunting Permit and approved wildlife management programs are exempt from the ordinance.

“While the intent of the ordinance is to prohibit the intentional feeding of all wildlife in the city, New Braunfels officials are particularly concerned about the deer population because of a number of health and safety issues,” the city said in a news release. “Providing food and water causes deer to become dependent on those resources at that location, which often leads to property damage, including vehicle damage.”

The city said it handles about 500 dead deer annually, most of which are hit by vehicles. It also said high concentrations of wildlife in one area could lead to lots of animal waste, which contains harmful pollutants that are washed away by the rain and end up in the Comal River and Dry Comal Creek.

New Braunfels officials said enforcement of this ordinance will increase in the summer. City park rangers, animal welfare officers, and code enforcement officers are expected to ramp up efforts in July and will issue citations when necessary, according to the news release.

You can learn more about the ordinance by clicking here.

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