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Animal rights activists protest proposed ban on feeding animals in city parksPosted: Updated:
Animal lovers rallied on Friday in opposition of a proposed ban on feeding squirrels and birds in the city.
The Bronx Animal Rights Electors say Mayor Bill de Blasio told them he plans to move forward with the ban on feeding animals. Meanwhile, animal rights activists say that city parks are often devoid of trees and plants that bear seeds and nuts, citing this as the reason it is important for New Yorkers to feed them.
Activists say that walking through the park and feeding animals can also be therapeutic for the elderly and children. During the rally, protesters had children feeding the squirrels peanuts.
Some residents, however, are taking sides with the possible ban. Margret Decrescendo says she is an animal lover but worries about how the large population of squirrels may be a health hazard.
Organizers of the protest say that the Parks Department tells them it will not enforce the rule even if the ban is put into place. News 12 has reached out to the Parks Department and the mayor's office about the ban and has not yet heard back.
If the ban does go through and is enforced, those who disobey it could be fined from $50 up to $200 or face imprisonment.
NYC Parks tells News 12 in a statement, "Feeding human food to animals is unhealthy for them - bread and other processed foods lack the nutrients that these animals need to survive. Diets high in sugar, carbohydrates, and protein found in human food is linked to disorders like angel wing, which can render birds unable to fly. It can also lead to harmful interactions between people and wildlife – between 2015 and 2018 at least 34 people were bitten by squirrels while attempting to feed them. The rule change has not yet been finalized."
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