West Fargo bans feeding geese, adding to law that prevents dingo, leopard, lion and tiger feeding ... oh my

City Commission approved ordinance change after second reading

Geese walk along the bank of a retention pond Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2020, near 17th Avenue and 6th Street East, West Fargo.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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WEST FARGO — After residents complained about the high amount of Canada geese gathering in their neighborhoods this summer, the West Fargo City Commission took action to add feeding wild birds to an already long list of animals listed in the city ordinance as off - limits to feed.

Such animals include many of what one may expect such as deer, moose, or coyotes but the city law for some reason, includes animals not particularly native to the city such as alligators, crocodiles, lions, tigers, cougars, bobcats, leopards, jaguars, jackals and even dingos.
Dingos are a member of the wild dog family, notably indigenous to Australia.

The ordinance now also includes "species or breed of turkey, geese, ducks,pheasants, wood ducks, owls, eagles, and any other type of fowl not being kept for agricultural purposes," after the West Fargo City Commission passed the ordinance second reading at its Monday, Dec. 5 meeting.

Feeding geese will now be a violation of city ordinance, punishable by a fine of $50 or $100. The first offense will be considered an infraction, but following offenses could increase the penalty.

"We would hope that after someone is caught, they would stop feeding the animals," Shockley said.


The ordinance says "'feed' means making food, including corn or seeds, available for consumption outdoors, either by spreading on the ground or hanging at a height of less than 5 feet as measured from the grade at the pole or structure supporting the bird feeder. Maintaining live vegetation such as fruit trees, gardens or flower beds does not count as feeding. Small bird feeders higher than 5 feet will also be acceptable.

The ordinance explicitly defines "non-domestic animal" or "wildlife" as animals considered to be naturally wild and not naturally trained or domesticated, or which are commonly considered to be inherently dangerous to the health, safety and welfare of people.

Residents are also not allowed to care for any member of the rodent family, including any skunk, raccoon, squirrel or ferret. Any poisonous, venomous, constricting, or inherently dangerous member of the reptile or amphibian families, including rattlesnakes, restricted non-venomous constricting snakes, pit vipers, crocodiles, and alligators are also explicitly prohibited.

Earlier this summer, Michael Szymanski, the migratory game bird management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish, said that feeding the birds can create "bad habits." In one instance a goose knocked over a little kid for his sandwich, Szymanski said, adding the nearby water features create a situation that is impossible to avoid.


Readers can reach West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at or 701-241-5530 . Follow her on Twitter @ForumWendy .

Related Topics: WEST FARGO
As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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