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Seminole County Weighs Plan to Hit Residents With Fine for Trash Violations

 Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Seminole County residents west of Interstate 4 could pay a $100 fine for leaving out trash cans past collection time. That’s under an ordinance up for vote this morning to prevent bear attacks on humans. The Urban Bear Management Ordinance would require residents to store garbage in a secure location; and to bring trash out no earlier than 5 a.m. on collection days.

“This is like the first step," said assistant county manager Melaney Lung. "If we can eliminate the attractants for the bears, and maybe they then go back into the forest and the regular habitat, then that’s a big change for the community.”

County officials researched ordinances in Colorado and Canada where bears live near humans. Some of the guidelines came from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission.

Environmentalist Chuck O’Neal supports the plan, but he invites Seminole County officials to find bear-proof trash cans that residents can afford.

“I really believe that most Seminole County residents on the west side of I-4 would pay for that purpose out of their own pockets. I just believe that we are on the west side of I-4, responsible enough to do the right thing.”

The bear-proof trash cans cost between $160 and $180.