Granby is now going to try and stop people from intentionally feeding bears.
It’s a problem NBC Connecticut has been following for a while and there have been reports of cars hitting bears and some families scared to go out into their own backyard.
With bears often parading through their backyard in Granby, the Bunz family has been concerned about someone nearby they believe is purposefully feeding bears.
“We don’t even go out to play anymore because of the bears,” said daughter Evelyn Bunz.
Amid the growing number of bears in town, there have been cars that have hit bears and a dog that was attacked.
“I’m so grateful the town took into consideration the real concerns people had,” said mother Meg Bunz.
People have been voicing concerns for years. Hundreds signed an online petition, and many packed a meeting last month speaking out about the issue.
“The amount of attention that has been brought to this is really going to make a difference all by itself. But on top of that having the rules and the expectations in place is going to help people make the right choices moving forward,” said father Thomas Bunz.
The ordinance goes into effect 20 days after it was published and while a lot of this is about education, people can face a $250 fine.
Granby now joins at least five other communities in the state with a similar rule, including Simsbury.
“The Animal Control Officer has had a couple of opportunities to educate residents on the concerns with bird feeders and feeding wildlife. As a result, the residents have understood and taken those bird feeders down. There’s been no tickets issued. There’s really been no issues,” said Sean Askham, R – Simsbury Deputy First Selectman.
Askham tells us the ordinance passed last August and it’s hard to tell yet if it’s had an effect on bear encounters.
“Over the last five years, we’ve had about 375 to 400 bear calls a year. So we will take a look at that at the end of the year and see where that is lined up,” said Askham.
Still, the Bunz family is hopeful people will do the right thing and the new rules will help make the town – and their backyard – a safer place including to play.
“I’m excited about that and I don’t have to be worried about coming outside,” said Evelyn.
The ordinance only allows bird feeders to be used from December 1 through March 31, though if the food is a variety not liked by bears, it can be used year-round.
Now, unintentional feeding could be considered intentional if a warning has been given out.