Snowmass ready to get tough on bears in garbage |

Snowmass ready to get tough on bears in garbage

Sarah S. Chung

Snowmass Village is preparing to crack down on residents and businessesthat lure bears into foraging through dumpsters for an easy meal.Embraced by the Town Council at a work session Monday, the tougherregulations require wildlife-resistant trash containers and includefines and penalties for violators.Applying such penalties would be a first for the town, where bearproblems last summer led to the deaths of four animals and bearsightings were “by far” the most numerous in recent memory, accordingto Police Chief Art Smythe.But more worrisome than the increased sightings, said Smythe,was the fact that several bears had grown comfortable enough aroundhumans to venture far beyond their usual hit-and-run raids ontrash containers.”A bear is considered unusually aggressive when they break intounoccupied sheds. But last summer we actually had a bear breakinto an occupied house,” Smythe said. “It’s definitely becomea public safety concern.” In that instance, the bear helped itself to dinner while a frightenedfamily huddled upstairs. The animal was killed by authorities.Under the proposed new ordinance, the improper disposal and storageof refuse – leaving it accessible to wildlife – will result ina first-time fine of $50. A violator would face a $250 fine fora second offense, and a court summons for a third offense. Special events and construction sites will be fined $250 for thefirst violation, $500 for the second, and a court summons on thethird, according to the ordinance.The Town Council will give the toughened up ordinance its formalfirst reading in two weeks.

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