- Since June 1, Boulder, CO has issued about 200 citations to residents in violation of a 2014 ordinance which requires residents to buy bear-resistant trash cans.
- On June 15 the city began a zero tolerance policy in select areas. The first offense comes with a $250 fine, and subsequent fines can reach $1,000 for multiple offenses.
- So far 20 residents have appealed their citations for various reasons. One resident successfully won an appeal because her trash can was broken by a hauler.
The original intent of this ordinance was to protect bears by reducing their reliance on waste as a food source and keeping them out of residential areas. Now that customers are feeling its effects, the language may have to be adjusted. The city is technically required to rewrite the law based on the citation appeal, but is appealing this decision in Boulder District Court.
While bear activity within Boulder city limits is down this summer, the issue is still an important one. Last year, a Colorado man shot two bear cubs after they got into his trash at night and ended up facing multiple charges. As shown by this incident and others, it's better for all involved if bears are kept out of the trash.
To this end, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission pushed for mandating bear-resistant cans last year and other local governments have enacted their own ordinances.