Gang activity in Sisters.photo by Jim Cornelius
Gang activity in Sisters.photo by Jim Cornelius

There are probably many people in Sisters who will not like the new deer-feeding ordinance passed last week, but those with gardens and landscaping they treasure may well be ecstatic.

Ordinance 457, addressing pestiferous dogs and reptiles, and given the identification codes 6.12.105 Feeding of Deer Prohibited reads:

(1) A person, who knowingly places, deposits, distributes, stores or scatters food, garbage or any other attractant as to constitute a lure, attraction or enticement for deer, may be issued a written notification by an agent of the City of Sisters requiring the person to remove the food, garbage or other attractant within two days of notification.

(2) A person who receives a written notification under subsection (1) of this section shall remove the food, garbage or other attractant as directed.

City Recorder Kathy Nelson explained, "The Council directed staff to craft the ordinance in response to concerns for safety (both for people and pets) and the unintended consequence of also inviting prey (coyotes and cougars) into our neighborhoods.

"The ordinance outlines specific concerns. With regard to enforcement, like much of it in Sisters, it will be complaint-driven. The ordinance does indicate it is Class B violation which carries a $250 fine. The City would first send notification to someone and attempt to get voluntary compliance prior to citing them."

Corey Heath, district wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Deschutes Wildlife District said, "We are pleased with the passage of the new ordinance; feeding deer causes damage problems for neighbors, and creates human/dog safety issues by fostering "aggressive' deer. Feeding unnaturally concentrates deer, making disease transmission easier, and it can focus predators in areas of unnatural deer concentrations."