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Seminole County Commission Votes For Bear Ordinance

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Human-black bear interaction is on the rise in parts of Florida, including Seminole County. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Seminole County residents who put out their trash too early could risk a $100 fine.

County Commissioners voted unanimously this afternoon in favor of an ordinance aimed at stopping bear attacks.

Residents in the county’s Urban Bear Management Areas will have to put their garbage out no earlier than 5 a.m. on collection days… or secure it in a bear resistant container.

The ordinance establishes the West Seminole County Urban Bear Management Area- which includes all of Seminole County west of I 4 and the area immediately to the east of I 4.

County Manager Nicole Guillet said most residents want to do the right thing.

“We’ve seen a great response from the public, they want to do the right thing, they want to keep their neighborhoods safe, so I don’t expect that we’re going to have a significant enforcement issue with the ordinance," said Guillet.

"That being said there will be some folks who are just not going to cooperate.”

Guillet said the county will first try to educate people who aren't complying with the ordinance.

"If we still have an issue with a respondent we will give them a warning before we engage in any code enforcement."

Commercial properties will have to secure their trash in bear proof containers.  The ordinance also prohibits feeding bears.

Resident Tom Knuckey applauded the council, but he said the ordinance doesn’t go far enough.

He said the county should have made bear proof trash cans mandatory.

“There are many counties in Florida that mandate certain cans to be used to pick up garbage. Why can’t we do that in Seminole County?" said Knuckey.

"I personally think the issue of enforcement is going to be very difficult. There’s a small window when people put their garbage out. Bears seem to know that day- I don’t know why they know it but they know it- they come out,” said Knuckey.