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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 trashcan with 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 .  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'  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 .

Ordinance can be crafted in a way as to only apply 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 for more information.

Sample Bylaw

This Resolution is for the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Name of HOA or Community and their invitees, guests, visitors, and employees, as well as for the wildlife which inhabit X County. Human provided food sources whether intentional or unintentional are the primary cause of conflicts between wildlife and people.  Injuries are rare.  However, wildlife can be dangerous and is capable of inflicting serious injury, damage to personal property, or killing humans and pets.  Besides running the risk of human injury, often it is the particular wild animal that has to be destroyed because of these conflicts.  There are known practices which minimize or prevent human-wildlife conflicts.  Therefore, the X HOA will be taking preventative measures to not only keep the residents of X safe but also keep the wildlife of X County wild.  When a problem arises and the parties are unwilling to comply with the direction of enforcement officers (e.g., the HOA board or security personnel), the penalty section of this Resolution will come into effect

Residents will be required to perform all necessary actions to remove attractants of wildlife. This includes, but is not limited to:

(i) Pet food shall not be put or stored outside for any time period other than the actual time the pet is eating.

(ii) All barbecue grills shall be cleaned immediately after use or stored in a sturdy shed, garage, or other secure location.

(iii) Removing outdoor bird feeders or hanging bird feeders at least 10 ft high and 4 ft from any trees or poles

(iv) All garbage and trash shall be kept in a wildlife resistant container or secured in a sturdy shed or garage at all times, except for roadside trash pickup on the designated day.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website has useful information on bears and how to avoid conflict.  In addition, it is illegal to feed bears (F.A.C. 68A-4.001[4]): (a)Intentionally feeding bears is prohibited except as provided for in this Title. (b) Placing food or garbage, allowing the placement of food or garbage, or offering food or garbage that attracts bears and is likely to create or creates a nuisance is prohibited after receiving prior written notification from the Commission. If convicted, penalties can include a third degree criminal felony, up to 5 years in prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine.


Example Bylaw #1 (Belvedere HOA)

Attention Property Owners - Wildlife Management Policy
Please be advised any and all wildlife feeding is strictly disallowed in the Belvedere community. It is dangerous for wildlife, especially deer, to be fed during the aggressive season, and feeding any wildlife creates an unsafe condition for people.

The Belvedere HOA management company will strictly enforce this important safety policy with fines and penalties for any violations of this wildlife policy. Any wildlife management policy violation shall result in a $200.00 per day fine for the offending party. The community management company shall remove any wildlife feeding improvements found on any homesite and/or HOA Nature Preserve land.

Example Bylaw #2 (Big Canoe POA)

Any feeding, intentional or otherwise, of any wildlife, excluding birds but not limited to deer, bears, feral cats and migratory water fowl is strictly prohibited. This includes feeder stations, broadcasting feed, or otherwise making readily available food (including salt licks) that would be attractive to these forms of wildlife.

Bird feeders must be removed if there is evidence of disturbance or damage by animals such as bears or raccoons. The POA may require removal of individual feeders or all feeders from time to time as animal activity may indicate.

Example Penalty Schedule (Durango)

Violations and penalties of this Resolution will be handled as set forth below. All fines shall be paid to the Board within twenty (20) days of issuance of the Notice of Violation. Failure to comply with any Warning or Notice of Violation within the designated time frame may be deemed another violation.

  1. First Violation– The first violation will result in a Warning to an alleged offender. The offender will be warned, informed and educated on the proper precautions necessary to prevent the feeding of wildlife and the necessary actions to meet the provisions of this Resolution. The Warning shall include a time schedule for compliance which shall be no longer than seven (7) days from the date of issuance.
  2. Second Violation– The second violation will result in a written Notice of Violation and a fine of$100.00. The Notice of Violation shall contain a time schedule for compliance which shall be no longer than seven (7) days from the date of issuance.
  3. Subsequent Violations– Each subsequent violation will result in a written Notice of Violation and a fine of$200.00. The Notice of Violation shall contain a time schedule for compliance which shall be no longer than seven (7) days from the date of issuance.