Example Ordinance Language Aimed at Preventing Wildlife From Accessing Garbage

Ordinances need not prescribe the method in which garbage is secured, only that garbage be adequately secured.  There are several options available for people to secure their garbage, many do not incur any additional costs.  Options on securing garbage include:

  • Storing trashcans in a secure area, such as a sturdy shed or garage, and put it curbside only on the MORNING of garbage pickup.
  • Getting a commercially-manufactured bear-resistant trashcanAdobe PDFwith a reinforced push-to-open latching system. 
    • If residents do not have trash service, bear-resistant trashcans can be purchased from several online retailers, including Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, and Home Depot.
    • If residents have trash service, the waste service provider should have bear-resistant cans available to residents at a minimal monthly charge.
  • Building a small shed to store trashcans.  Important elements are to leave no gaps along edges and use screws instead of nails. FWC has detailed plans on how to build one Adobe PDF.  Waste service providers should be contacted to ensure they will service trashcans from a shed.
  • Attaching hardware to regular trashcans to make it more bear-resistant. For a 'retrofit' Adobe PDF to be successful, the lid must be very strong and not very flexible, and the can should not collapse when weight/pressure is applied to its side.  Waste service providers should be contacted for permission to 'retrofit' trashcans.
  • Enclosing garbage can(s) and/or dumpster(s) within electric fencing Adobe PDF.

Ordinances have been extremely successful in other locations, such as in the City of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Placer County, California, and Pitkin County, Colorado (see below; additional examples available upon request).
County or city staff could craft an ordinance so it only applies to areas with frequent human-bear conflicts rather than applying the ordinance county or city-wide. 
Contact Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Bear Management Program staff at BearManagement@MyFWC.com for more information.

Gatlinburg City Ordinance 2188 (Tennessee)

Section 8-111 Animal Resistant Garbage Collection Devices
From and after June 1, 2000, all garbage, containers, dumpsters or equipment used to store garbage, not otherwise located within an approved enclosure prior to municipal or private pick-up in the areas described as follows:  The entire area within the city limits on the west side of the Foothills Parkway: the area north of the National prong of the Little Pigeon River between Parkway and the Foothills Parkway boundary bounded on the north by LeConte Street and the Skyland Park and the Winfield Heights Subdivisions: the entire area between the National Park Service boundary on the South and Southeast city limits from Low Gap Road on the east and to the  South of Highway 321 and Parkway, and as shown on a map dated December, 1998 on file at the offices of the City Manager and incorporated herein by reference, shall be of a type which shall be resistant to animals being able to open, overturn or remove garbage from them.  Each type of container shall be of a design approved by the City Building Official.  This requirement shall not apply to containers that are also enclosed within fences or other enclosures which do not allow entry by scavenging animals or are located inside a structure such as a house, building or other enclosed structure and are taken to a City or County approved garbage collection site by the owner.

Section 8-112. Enclosures
All garbage containers in said areas of a type which do not meet City standards as being animal resistant shall be fully enclosed in a manner to prevent entry by animals.  Such enclosures shall be approved in advance by the City Building Official.  Any enclosure which does not prevent the entry of animals and removal of garbage from the enclosure shall be modified by the owner to prevent such entry and removal.  Owners who are notified of a deficient enclosure shall have 60 days to cure such deficiency.  All garbage containers of a type not resistant to animals shall be so enclosed by June 1, 2000.  Every animal resistant enclosure shall be properly secured.  Failure to keep such enclosure secured and closed shall also be a violation of this section.

Section 8-113. Grease
The provisions of Sections 8-111 and 8-112 shall also apply to containers and enclosures used to store grease and the contents of grease traps.

Section 8-114. Restaurants
All restaurants within the city limits of the City of Gatlinburg shall be required to comply with the provisions of 8-111 through 8-113 with regard to garbage containers and/or enclosures for the storage of garbage containers and grease.

Section 8-115. Garbage Collection
The City will not collect garbage which is not placed in an animal resistant container unless it is placed within an approved enclosure, as required in Sections 8-111 through 8-114.  The provisions of Sections 8-111 and 8-112 shall not apply to curbside garbage collection containers within the downtown business district.

Section 8-117 Injunctive or Other Relief
In addition to any penalty, violation of the provisions of this chapter may be remedied by obtaining injunctive relief, or by a restraining order, or other appropriate equitable remedy by the city.

Section 8-118 Penalty
Every person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500 per offense.  Each day that a violation shall occur shall be a separate offense.

Prevention of Bear Access to Garbage

Placer County, CA LogoAdopted August 7, 2001
Revised April 29, 2003

8.66.010  Definitions

8.16.264  Applicability

8.16.266  Garbage Can Enclosures

8.16.268  Use And Maintenance Of Bear Resistant Garbage Can Enclosures


1.  In Section 8.16.010, Definitions, is expanded to include:

“Approved bear-resistant garbage can enclosure” is a secured enclosure, made of metal or equivalent, with a secured door or doors in front of the enclosure, or equivalent, whose design has been determined by Placer County Environmental Health to be sturdy, weather resistant, and making the contents of the garbage can enclosure in- accessible to bears.  A list of approved bear-resistant garbage can enclosures shall be available to the public at the Tahoe offices of Placer County Environmental Health and Placer County Building Department.

“New residential construction” shall mean creating a new residential unit and/or guest quarters, as well as additions greater than 500 square feet to existing residential buildings.  Square footage of residential garages shall not be included in the calculation of square footage.

2.  New Division III, Prevention of Bear Access to Garbage, is added to Article 8.16. This division now reads as follows:

8.16.264 Applicability

This Division shall apply in those portions of Placer County 5,000 feet above sea level and higher in elevation.  All persons affected by this Division shall have one hundred eighty (180) days after its effective date to comply with the provisions contained herein.

8.16.266  Garbage Can Enclosure

  1. The owner, lessee, resident or person exercising physical control of any private property, including businesses, shall install  approved  bear- resistant garbage can enclosures in either of the following circumstances:
    1. Prior to final and/or occupancy approval for all new residential construction.
    2. Within 30 days of notification by Placer County Environmental Health that installation of an approved bear resistant garbage enclosure is required because garbage collection and/or storage  site has been inspected  and  determined  to  be  a  bear  access  problem  by  Placer County Environmental Health Services or another agent or organization approved by the Placer County Board of Supervisors.
  2. Not withstanding the time frames specified herein, installation of bear resistant garbage can enclosures may be delayed because of Tahoe Regional Planning Agency requirements or frozen ground conditions.
  3. Bear-resistant garbage enclosures shall be located in an accessible location for garbage pickup using one of the following location standards:
    1. Prefabricated Enclosures from List of Approved Bear-Resistant  Garbage Can Enclosures shall be located:
      1. On the parcel between the residence and the  county-maintained road so as to provide, where possible, a minimum separation of 50 feet between the residence and the  enclosure.   Where such a separation cannot be maintained due  to parcel size or site constraints, the enclosure will be located so as to maximize said separation.
      2. Outside of the road right-of-way, snow storage area, and line-of- sight, except as otherwise approved by the Placer County Director of Public Works.
    2. Integral Design Option Enclosures shall be located:
      In the location and under the conditions described for the “Integral En- closure  Design  Option”  specified  on  the  “List  of  Approved  Bear- Resistant Garbage Can Enclosures.”

3.  8.16.268  Use and Maintenance of Bear Resistant Garbage Can Enclosures

  1. The owner, lessee, resident or person exercising physical control of any private property, including businesses, shall at all times maintain and use an approved bear-resistant garbage can enclosure for the collection, storage, and disposal of garbage when required to do so by this Division.
  2. Each bear-resistant garbage can enclosure and surrounding area shall be maintained in a manner to minimize odor and/or nuisance.
  3. Doors, or equivalent, shall not be opened or removed from bear-resistant enclosures except when necessary to place garbage cans inside or to re- move the garbage cans from the bear-resistant enclosure.
  4. The bear-resistant garbage can enclosure shall not be overloaded to the extent the enclosure cannot be securely closed.

An Ordinance of the Board of County Commissioners of Pitkin County, Colorado, Establishing Regulations and Standards Regarding the Protection of Wildlife

Ordinance # 010 - 2001

  1. In 1998 and 1999, respectively, the Town of Snowmass Village and the City of Aspen passed ordinances amending their municipal codes concerning wildlife protection and the use of wildlife proof containers.
  2. In response to the citizens of Pitkin County, the Pitkin County Wildlife Biologist, the Pitkin County Animal Safety Officer, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, the Board of County Commissioners (the "Board) wishes to adopt new regulations and standards requiring the utilization of wildlife proof refuse containers, wildlife proof dumpster enclosures and the proper storage of food or refuse edible by bears or wildlife.
  3. The Board finds that regulations and standards requiring the utilization of wildlife proof refuse containers, wildlife proof dumpster enclosures and the proper storage of food or refuse edible by bears or wildlife, are necessary to enhance public safety and protect the health and welfare of bears and other wildlife.
  4. The Board finds that this problem occurs throughout all of Pitkin County during the spring, summer, fall and early winter, and has therefore determined that as of April 15, 2001, this ordinance will be effective in all areas of Pitkin County, all year round.

Now Therefore, be it ordained by the Board of County Commissioners of Pitkin County,  Colorado,  that  it  hereby  authorizes  the  adoption  of  the  following  regulations  and standards:



Wildlife – any animal, including but not limited to dogs, cats, skunks, squirrels, black bears, raccoons, coyotes, bobcats and foxes.

Wildlife Proof Refuse Container (WPRC) - a fully enclosed container with a lid which is inaccessible to wildlife.  The lid must fit tightly and have a latching mechanism.  A dumpster, poly cart or similar trash receptacle of heavy construction may be an WPRC.  The WPRC must be approved by the Solid Waste Manager, Animal  Safety Officer or their designee.

Wildlife Proof Dumpster Enclosure (WPDE) – a fully enclosed structure consisting of four sides and a roof or cover of sufficient design and construction to prevent access by wildlife.  The door or cover must have a latching mechanism, the sides of the structure must extend to within two inches of the ground, and ventilation openings must be covered with a heavy gauge steel mesh or other material of sufficient strength to prevent access by wildlife.   Wildlife Proof Dumpster Enclosures are subject to all building codes and planning and zoning requirements. The WPDE must be approved by the Solid Waste Manager, Animal Control Officer, or their designee.



All refuse containers regardless of size, that receive food wastes shall be either an approved Wildlife  Proof  Refuse  Container  (WPRC),  or  a  refuse  container  which  is  stored  within  a building, house, garage, or approved Wildlife Proof Dumpster Enclosure (WPDE).

STANDARDS for Wildlife Proof Refuse Containers (WPRC)
Dumpsters will be of a design that is impervious to wildlife, with drain holes no greater than one (1) inch in diameter. Dumpster lids must have a closure mechanism and/or a latching device.  All lids must:

  1. fully enclose (cover) the dumpster opening.
  2. have edges that fit flush.  Lids must not be turned up or bent.
  3. have closure mechanisms which will withstand opening by an animal and will remain closed when on their side or upside down.
  4. have acceptable latching devices, such as cables, bars and/or pull handles. All latching devices must lock into place with a pin or other mechanism.

All lids must be constructed to withstand the weight of a bear.  Plastic dumpster lids must comply with these standards, and must be reinforced with angle iron or equivalent alternative. Angle iron or alternative must be placed along all edges and across the middle of the lid to prevent collapsing.

Compactors must be wildlife proof.  No trash may be exposed, and doors must be kept closed except when loading or removing refuse.  The area around the compactor must be kept clean and free of refuse.

Wildlife Proof Refuse Containers and Wildlife Proof Dumpster Enclosures must be kept closed and secure except when refuse is being deposited.  The area around the WPRC or WPDE must be kept clean and free of refuse.  Overfilling of any refuse container, including trash cans set out on the day of collection, is prohibited.

If an WPRC/DE is damaged, allowing access by wildlife, repairs must be made within 48 hours after written notification to the responsible party by the County.

Residents with curbside refuse pickup shall place their refuse or containers at the curb only after 6 a.m. on the day of pickup.  All refuse and any containers containing refuse must be re-secured inside the home, garage or WPRC/DE by 6 p.m.  Trashcans that do not receive refuse until the day of pickup are not required to be wildlife proof.

Licensed Waste Haulers in Pitkin County must provide Wildlife Proof Refuse Containers to all customers who request them, and must collect refuse in accordance with this regulation.

Collection of residential refuse in Pitkin County must occur between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Outdoor Special Event sites shall be kept free from the accumulation of refuse edible by wildlife. Refuse must be collected from the grounds at the close of each day’s activities and shall be deposited in Wildlife Proof Containers or Enclosures, or be removed to an appropriate disposal site.

All construction sites must have a designated container that receives refuse edible by wildlife.  This container shall be either an Wildlife Proof Refuse Container, or a container that is emptied at the end of each workday and then securely stored inside a trailer or building.

Trailer parks, housing developments, homeowners associations and other types of clustered residential housing should utilize centralized dumpsters, located in an Wildlife Proof Dumpster Enclosure in lieu of individual refuse containers, when practical.

If the refuse management method at any locations fails, i.e. if wildlife gains access to trash, the responsible party and/or refuse hauler must reinforce or replace the existing container at that location.    If  there  is  repeated  failure  of  the  current  method  of  refuse  management  or  if modifications to an enclosure, dumpster or container do not effectively prevent wildlife from gaining access, a new method must be implemented at that location.

Upon receipt of a complaint alleging improper storage or collection of refuse, the County will investigate said complaint.  Upon finding that the  provisions  of  this  regulation  have  been violated, A Notice of Violation will be issued to the responsible party, including a schedule for compliance.   Said compliance schedule for removal of improperly stored solid waste will be no less than 24 and no greater than 72 hours.  For WPDE modification, the compliance schedule will be no less than 5 days and no greater than 30 days.  If compliance is not achieved within the designated time frame, a second Notice of Violation will be issued.   Penalties will be assess according to the following schedule:

First Notice of Violation:       no penalty
Second NOV:                         $350
Third NOV:                            $1000

This ordinance shall apply throughout all of Pitkin County all year round.

FWC Facts:
Boats 16 feet and longer must have at least one USCG-approved throwable Type IV PFD per passenger - immediately available in case of a fall overboard.

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