Citations Can Be Issued to Those Violating Ordinance
Animal Services is issuing a reminder to residents and random passersby near roaming burros to stop feeding the animals. Also, officers will be increasing their patrols in these areas.
Providing carrots and fruit to the burros could be drawing the wandering herds down from usual locations in the foothills in northwest Riverside, Commander Chris Mayer said.
“These burros are very smart and will continue to migrate to areas where people have been known to provide food for them,” Mayer said. “We want to remind everyone that such actions are illegal.”
In 2017, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance (No. 934) that prohibited the harassment and feeding of undomesticated burros. The intent of the ordinance was to reduce the contact between burros and the public and, ultimately, protect people and the animals. The city of Riverside adopted a similar ordinance.
The county ordinance allows officers to issue administrative citations and the first violation comes with a $100 fine; a fine of $200 can be issued for the second violation within the same year; and a third infraction within one year comes with a $500 fine.
Accidents in the Reche Canyon area and along Pigeon Pass Road have been a concern. In 2005 a woman was driving her car and hit two burros. Her injuries were so severe she died after the crash.
“People love the cuteness of the burros and feeding them may seem very innocent,” Mayer said. “But people may not realize the risk they are causing to passing motorists and possible injuries and deaths of the burros, too,” Mayer said.
Animal Services Director Julie Bank said she planned to increase the officers’ presence in the areas the burros are known to frequent.
“We want to educate the public further, but we will also be forced to issue citations if people continue to feed these wild animals,” Bank said.