SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - With 6,600 human/bear conflicts since 2008, and three people injured in bear attacks just west of Interstate 4 in Seminole County in the last three years, officials developed an ordinance to reduce human/bear interaction.
The ordinance requires people who live in some areas of the county to secure their trash cans. It also regulates other bear attractants, including pet food and bird feeders, with a catch-all that states intentionally feeding bears anywhere in the county is not allowed. That means people can either buy a bear-proof trash can, with a $180 price tag, or make sure their garbage is locked up in a secure area until collection day. If not, they will be looking at a $100 fine.
But just this week, county officials decided to suspend the ordinance for residents just east of Interstate 4, because of fewer bear sightings in those areas. Residents east of the interstate have said that the ordinance unfairly targets them, since most of the sightings and conflicts have occurred west of the roadway.
Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are currently reviewing the requirement for those residents who live in the east portion of Urban Bear Management area. For residents who live in the west portion of the Urban Bear Management area, the ordinance goes into effect February 7.
Read more about the ordinance and see a map of the areas impacted here.