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Riverside County Animal Services urges burro fans to stop feeding

Riverside County Animal Services is urging residents to stop feeding roaming burros. Photo provided by Riverside County Animal Services.

Riverside County Animal Services is urging residents and random passersby near roaming burros to stop feeding the animals. Officers will be increasing their patrols in these areas, issuing citations to anyone caught feeding the wild burros, according to the Department of Animal Services.

“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, We want to remind everyone that such actions are illegal.”

In 2017, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors adopted Ordinance No. 934, prohibiting 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. The fine for the first violation is $100. A fine of $200 can be issued for the second violation within the same year. 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 fatally injured when her vehicle hit burros.

“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.”

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.

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