Sec. 486 M.P.C.

I saw a sign today that made me want to run home to the internet and do a search. It was in regards to Sec. 486 M.P.C. A law which forbids the feeding of wildlife in San Francisco. This sign listed some of the wildlife and I realized that I have been in violation of this law many time, but luckily I haven’t in the past 10 years so I think I’m past the statue of limitations.

I used to love many years ago to go to the arboretum and sit on a bench and wait until the squirrels would run up my legs for me to hand them a peanut [hint, they prefer walnuts]. I love my time as a teenager when the raccoons would walk up to me in my back yard and take an egg from my hand. I was not one to ever feed pigeons, though there were a couple of times when a friendly one would walk up and i’d toss a bit of something to them. Seagulls are definitely off my list as they are food thieves and don’t need to be fed ever. I have tossed some old bread to the ducks at Stowe Lake though.

At the zoo, when I was a kid they used to sell mackerel bits to toss to the seals, but I suppose that didn’t fall under Sec. 486 M.P.C. then or there was some kind of special dispensation. I know that feeding squirrels isn’t really that good for them, but in a way it disappoints me as I will not have the chance to take my daughter to Japanese Tea Garden or Arboretum and show her how much fun it is when a squirrel takes a nut from your hand. I’m not sure I’d want to help her feed a raccoon as they can turn on you sometimes and there is always that rabies thing you have to think of.

I guess the goats and sheep at the zoo are considered domestic animals since they sell alfalfa pellets for them that you can purchase for 50¢ and feed to them. My daughter enjoys this a lot so I guess that’ll have to do. I definitely will add skunks to the menu of animals not to fee, though I admit I have done that before in San Francisco as well as the odd possum I’ve seen. While I’ve encounter a couple of coyote’s in San Francisco, I’ve never fed one preferring to stay safely in my car. I have fed old bread to the Buffalos in the park way back when they could  walk up to the fence, but those days have passed. I even remember back to the days as a kid when they sold zoo chow at the zoo and I would be throwing the pellets at the bears who would lean back and hold up their hind legs to get you to perform for them so they could get the treats.

I guess the times are a changing when the department of public works posts a phone number you can call to report offenders. I wonder now what the fine is for feeding a nut to a squirrel?