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Port Moody officers won't make garbage infraction ticketing a priority, chief says

FILE: A black bear looks up from rifling through the garbage in the front yard of a home on July 6, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo, Becky Bohrer)

Port Moody police can write tickets to anyone who leaves garbage out too early, but police chief says they usually don't

Police officers aren't 'generally charged with that responsibility', Chief Dave Fluegel says

Four bears have been put down in the Tri-Cities so far this summer

PORT MOODY (NEWS 1130) – Putting out your garbage too early in Port Moody can land you a ticket, but don’t expect it to come from the cops.

Port Moody Police Chief Dave Fleugel says his officers won’t be making this a priority, despite four bears being put down in the Tri-Cities so far this summer.

“It’s not police responsibility, per se,” he explains. “The City of Port Moody has a fairly robust bylaw department, and it is an actual municipal bylaw that they’re enforcing. So our bylaw department does write those tickets, for the most part.”

Under the bylaw, Fleugel says his officers do have the authority to write tickets for anyone found to have left their trash out too early, but adds police officers aren’t “generally charged with that responsibility.”

“It’s a real big public safety concern for, obviously, families that have children out playing and just regular human activity with the bears in their neighbourhoods and right in some of their personal properties.” Fleugel explains. “Bear safety, absolutely, has been a concern in Port Moody for many, many years. We work really closely with the B.C. Conservation Service, and we did have some really unfortunate incidents in the last week or so.”

Earlier this month, a mother black bear was put down in Port Moody, while her three cubs were transferred to a rehabilitation facility.

In July, another sow was euthanized in Coquitlam, along with her two cubs, after they were deemed to be heavily habituated and food conditioned. In this case, a dramatic confrontation broke out when at least three people living in the Chineside neighbourhood “obstructed” conservation officers who were trying to track the animals.

The three neighbours were arrested, and their phones were confiscated.

Instead of interfering, Fleugel says people should instead get involved with their local governments, or take part in bear aware programs.

Education is key

Bears among neighbourhoods and communities, as mentioned, is a big concern for the Port Moody police chief.

He believes the city needs to “take it to the next level,” in order to make residents more aware of what their responsibilities are when it comes to being bear-aware.

Fleugel looks to communities like Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, where the cities have strategies in place.

“And I know Port Moody is looking at taking on even more and more education and awareness for our citizens, because really what the bears are looking for, the bears are looking for food and that is generally attractants like garbage and recyclables, and I those are the things that I think we can do to change the behaviour of the bears.

“If we, as humans, change our behaviours, we can have less interface with those bears,” Fleugel adds.