Below, are some of California's laws and regulations, and local ordinances that pertain to wildlife, with our interpretation italicized. We've also included some examples from other states and countries.
CALIFORNIA CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 14
§465.5 (f)(1). Trap Number Requirement. Any person who traps furbearing mammals or nongame mammals shall obtain a trap number issued by and registered with the department. All traps, before being put into use, shall bear only the current registered trap number or numbers of the person using, or in possession of those traps. This number shall be stamped clearly on the trap or on a metal tag attached to the chain of the trap or to any part of the trap.
It is illegal to set or maintain traps that do not bear a number or other identifying mark registered with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. This would include a property owner who wishes to set a trap for a wild animal in his/her backyard - before doing so, they must receive an identifying number and affix it to the trap.
§465.5 (g)(1). Immediate Dispatch or Release. All furbearing and nongame mammals that are legal to trap must be immediately killed or released. Unless released, trapped animals shall be killed by shooting where local ordinances, landowners, and safety permit. This regulation does not prohibit employees of federal, state, or local government from using chemical euthanasia to dispatch trapped animals. Trapped animals must be euthanized or released immediately on site. Relocation of trapped wildlife is prohibited.
§465.5 (g)(2). Trap Visitation Requirement. All traps shall be visited at least once daily by the owner of the traps or his/her designee. Each time traps are checked all trapped animals shall be removed.
§465.5 (g)(3). Trap Placement Requirement. Traps may not be set within 150 yards of any structure used as a permanent or temporary residence, unless such traps are set by a person controlling such property or by a person who has and is carrying with him written consent of the landowner to so place the trap or traps.
Simply put, no person may set a trap within 150 yards of a residence without written consent from the owner of that residence. We believe this regulation was initially written to help protect domestic animals from being trapped and injured. Today, we believe this subsection provides neighbors an important right - a say in what happens to shared natural resources - the wildlife.
§475 (a). Poison may not be used.
To check on a license or report a possible trapping violation, contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife Trapping License Office 916-928-5852 or one of the regional offices:
FRESNO - 1234 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno, CA 93710 (559) 222-3761
MONTEREY - 20 Lower Ragsdale Dr., Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 649-2810
NAPA - 7329 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558 (707) 944-5500
ONTARIO - 3602 Inland Empire Blvd., Suite C-220, Ontario, CA 91764 (909) 484-0167
RANCHO CORDOVA - 1701 Nimbus Rd., Rancho Cordova, CA 95670 (916) 358-2900
REDDING - 601 Locust St., Redding, CA 96001 (530) 225-2300
SAN DIEGO - 4949 Viewridge Ave., San Diego, CA 92123 (858) 467-4201
§251.1. Harassment of Animals. Except as otherwise authorized in these regulations or in the Fish and Game Code, no person shall harass, herd or drive any game or nongame bird or mammal or furbearing mammal. For the purposes of this section, harass is defined as an intentional act which disrupts an animal's normal behavior patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, breeding, feeding or sheltering. This section does not apply to a landowner or tenant who drives or herds birds or mammals for the purpose of preventing damage to private or public property, including aquaculture and agriculture crops.
§251.3. Prohibition Against Feeding Big Game Mammals. No person shall knowingly feed big game mammals, as defined in Section 350 of these regulations
CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME CODE
4152: Non-Game birds and mammals injuring crops and property (includes red fox squirrel and jack rabbits) may be taken any time and in any manner in accordance with the regulations...
4180: Furbearing mammals damaging property may be taken in any manner in accordance with this code and regulations...
Wildlife injuring crops of property can be "taken" or killed, but only in accordance with current regulations (below).
Additionally, there must be cause - damage to crops or property before fur-bearers or non-game mammals may be taken, and then, only the animal(s) causing the damage may be taken - non-target animals that are inadvertently trapped must be immediately released on site.
§4004. Unlawful Methods of Taking. It is unlawful to do any of the following:
(a) Use a steel-jawed leghold trap, or use any trap with saw-toothed or spiked jaws.
(b) Use a body-gripping trap, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 3003.1, for the purpose of recreation or commerce in fur.
(c) Set or maintain traps that do not bear a number or other identifying mark registered to the department or, in the case of a federal, state, county, or city agency, bear the name of that agency, except that traps set pursuant to Section 4152 or 4180 shall bear an identifying mark in a manner specified by the department. No registration fee shall be charged pursuant to this subdivision.
(d) Fail to visit and remove all animals from traps at least once daily. If the trapping is done pursuant to Section 4152 or 4180, the inspection and removal shall be done by the person who sets the trap or the owner of the land where the trap is set or an agent of either.
(e) Use a conibear trap that is larger than 6 inches by 6 inches, unless partially or wholly submerged in water. Unless prohibited by the department as a permit condition, a lawfully set conibear trap that is 10 inches by 10 inches or less may be set pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 465.5 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations.
(f) When any conibear trap is set on publicly owned land or land expressly open to public use, fail to post New 4 signs at every entrance and exit to the property indicating the presence of conibear traps and at least four additional signs posted within a radius of 50 feet of the trap, one in each cardinal direction, with lettering that is a minimum of three inches high stating: “Danger! Traps Set For Wildlife. Keep Out.” Signs shall be maintained and checked daily.
(g) Kill any trapped mammal in accordance with this section by intentional drowning, injection with any chemical not sold for the purpose of euthanizing animals, or thoracic compression, commonly known as chest crushing. This subdivision shall not be construed to prohibit the use of lawfully set conibear traps set partially or wholly submerged in water for beaver or muskrat or the use of lawfully set colony traps set in water for muskrat.
CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE
§597. Cruelty to Animals. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (c) of this section or Section 599c, every person who maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living animal, or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal, is guilty of an offense punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, or by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, or, alternatively, by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment. (b) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (a) or (c), every person who overdrives, overloads, drives when overloaded, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, cruelly beats, mutilates, or cruelly kills any animal, or causes or procures any animal to be so overdriven, overloaded, driven when overloaded, overworked, tortured, tormented, deprived of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter, or to be cruelly beaten, mutilated, or cruelly killed; and whoever, having the charge or custody of any animal, either as owner or otherwise, subjects any animal to needless suffering, or inflicts unnecessary cruelty upon the animal, or in any manner abuses any animal, or fails to provide the animal with proper food, drink, or shelter or protection from the weather, or who drives, rides, or otherwise uses the animal when unfit for labor, is, for every such offense, guilty of a crime punishable as a misdemeanor or as a felony or alternatively punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony and by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000). (c) Every person who maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, or tortures any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, or fish as described in subdivision (d), is guilty of an offense punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, or by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, or, alternatively, by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment. (d) Subdivision (c) applies to any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, or fish which is a creature described as follows: (1) Endangered species or threatened species as described in Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 2050) of Division 3 of the Fish and Game Code. (2) Fully protected birds described in Section 3511 of the Fish and Game Code. (3) Fully protected mammals described in Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 4700) of Part 3 of Division 4 of the Fish and Game Code. (4) Fully protected reptiles and amphibians described in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 5050) of Division 5 of the Fish and Game Code. (5) Fully protected fish as described in Section 5515 of the Fish and Game Code. This subdivision does not supersede or affect any provisions of law relating to taking of the described species, including, but not limited to, Section 12008 of the Fish and Game Code. (e) For the purposes of subdivision (c), each act of malicious and intentional maiming, mutilating, or torturing a separate specimen of a creature described in subdivision (d) is a separate offense. If any person is charged with a violation of subdivision (c), the proceedings shall be subject to Section 12157 of the Fish and Game Code.
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY
TITLE 3: HEALTH AND SANITATION AND ANIMAL REGULATIONS
DIVISION 2: ANIMALS
CHAPTER 13: ANIMAL FOOD AND FOOD SCRAPS
§ 32.1301 Food Left Outside for Certain Mammalian Predators. (a) No person shall feed or in any manner provide food for one or more non-domesticated mammalian predators. A non-domesticated mammalian predator shall include coyotes, raccoons, foxes, opossums, bears, mountain lions, and bobcats.
§ 32.1302 Food Left Outside for Any Animal During Certain Hours. No person shall leave or permit to be left out-of-doors food for any animal between the hours of 10:00 p.m. of any one day and 6:00 a.m. of the following day, unless the area where the food is left is not accessible to non-domesticated mammalian predators.
§ 32.1303 Garbage Containing Food Scraps. No person shall leave or permit to be left out-of-doors any garbage containing food scraps without first securing said food scraps in closed containers.
CITY OF SAN JOSE
BAN ON FEEDING WILDLIFE
7.40.120 - Ban on feeding wild animals.
A. It is unlawful for any person to feed or in any manner provide an attractant to a wild animal.
B. No person may leave, store, or maintain any attractant in a location and manner accessible to any wild animal.
C. The prohibitions in subsections A. and B. do not apply to: 1. Any person who is the legal owner/guardian of the wild animal and the wild animal is kept under a valid license or permit issued by the State Department of Fish and Game, and in compliance with all applicable laws. 2. Any person who feeds or provides an attractant to a trapped, injured, or unweaned wild animal between the time that the agency charged with animal control or its designated agent is notified of the wild animal and the wild animal is picked up by said agency. 3. A wildlife rehabilitator. 4. Any person who is using an attractant to trap an animal in a legally authorized or permitted manner. 5. Any person with a bird feeder provided the feeders are suspended on a cable or other device to make them inaccessible to wild animals and the area below the feeders are kept free from the accumulation of seed debris.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY
FEEDING OF CERTAIN PREDATOR ANIMALS
10.84.010 - Providing food for certain rodents or predator animals prohibited.
A. Except as otherwise provided for herein, no person shall feed or in any manner provide food to a nondomesticated rodent or a nondomesticated mammalian predator.
B. For purposes of this chapter:
1. "Rodent" includes ground squirrels;
2. "Mammalian predators" includes coyote, raccoon, fox and opossum.
LOS ANGELES CITY MUNICIPAL CODE
CHAPTER 5, ARTICLE 3 ANIMALS AND FOWLS
SEC. 53.06.3. Trapping - Permit Required.
(a) No person shall set, or cause to be set, any trap to catch any animal, other than rats, mice, pocket gophers, ground squirrels and moles, without having first obtained a permit therefor from the Department prior to the setting of any such trap.
(b) The Department shall charge and collect for issuance of a permit to trap a coyote a fee of $200.00.
(c) The Department shall establish conditions which the applicant for a permit to trap a coyote must satisfy prior to the issuance of any such permit. If the General Manager or the General Manager’s designee determines that the applicant has satisfied the conditions, then the Department shall issue a permit to trap a coyote. The Department shall further ensure that those conditions will be maintained and that the permittee shall inform neighboring residents, located within a distance established by the Department, that coyote trapping will be occurring in their area.
(d) No person shall set, or cause to be set, any snare, body gripping trap, body crushing trap, deadfall trap, leg hold trap, or any trap or snare that captures an animal other than rats, mice, pocket gophers, ground squirrels and moles, by gripping or snaring any part of the animal including its body, head, neck or limb, or that maims or causes the inhumane death or suffering of any animal.
(e) The Department shall promulgate rules and regulations which are reasonably necessary to minimize the suffering of animals trapped in humane traps such as box, culvert or cage traps. These rules and regulations may include the placement of the traps and visitation schedules, identification and contact information for the trap, the type and use of permissible bait, and the treatment of the trapped animals.
CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS
TITLE 50: WILDLIFE and FISHERIES
PART 21: MIGRATORY BIRD PERMITS
Excerpts from 50 CFR 21.43 Depredation order for blackbirds, cowbirds, crows, grackles, and magpies.
(b) Conditions under which control is allowed by private citizens. You do not need a Federal permit to control the species listed in paragraph (a) of this section in the following circumstances: (1) Where they are causing serious injuries to agricultural or horticultural crops or to livestock feed;
(6) Each calendar year, you must attempt to control depredation by species listed under this depredation order using nonlethal methods before you may use lethal control. Nonlethal control methods can include such measures as netting and flagging, the use of trained raptors, propane cannons, and recordings.
(f) Trapping conditions. You must comply with the following conditions if you attempt to trap any species under this order. (2) You must check each trap at least once every day it is deployed. (3) At temperatures above 80 °Fahrenheit, the traps must provide shade for captured birds. (4) Each trap must contain adequate food and water. (7) You must report captures of nontarget federally protected migratory birds in your annual report. (g) Euthanasia. Captured birds and wounded or injured birds of the species listed in paragraph (a) may only be killed by carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide inhalation, or by cervical dislocation performed by well trained personnel who are regularly monitored to ensure proficiency. (i) Annual report. Any person, business, organization, or government official acting under this depredation order must provide an annual report using FWS Form 3202212143 to the appropriate Regional Migratory Bird Permit Office. (j) Compliance with other laws. You may trap and kill birds under this order only in a way that complies with all State, tribal, or territorial laws or regulations. You must have any State, tribal, or territorial permit required to conduct the activity.
CITY OF TORRANCE
ARTICLE 13 - FEEDING OF BIRDS
41.13.1 FEEDING BIRDS PROHIBITED. a) It is illegal for any person to deposit on or in any public street, public right-of-way, sidewalk, public building, public parking lot, park or any other public property within the city any food or edible thing that can be consumed by birds.
b) It is illegal for any person, while on or in any public street, public right-of-way, sidewalk, public building, public parking lot, park or any other public property within the city, to feed or cause to be fed any bird.
c) Any violation of this section is a misdemeanor, or alternatively, an infraction.
d) This section may be enforced by a city police officer, animal control officer, animal control supervisor, code enforcement officer, or any City employee authorized under Section 11.2.5 of the Torrance Municipal Code.
WASHINGTON FISH AND WILDLIFE ENFORCEMENT CODE
TITLE 77, CHAPTER 77.15
RCW 77.15.790 Negligently feeding, attempting to feed, or attracting large wild carnivores to land or a building - Infraction.
(1) A person may not negligently feed or attempt to feed large wild carnivores or negligently attract large wild carnivores to land or a building.
(2) If a fish and wildlife officer, ex officio fish and wildlife officer, or animal control authority, as defined in RCW 16.30.010, has probable cause to believe that a person is negligently feeding, attempting to feed, or attracting large wild carnivores to land or a building by placing or locating food, food waste, or other substance in, on, or about any land or building, and the food, food waste, or other substance poses a risk to the safety of any person, livestock, or pet because it is attracting or could attract large wild carnivores to the land or building, that person commits an infraction under chapter 7.84 RCW.
(3) Subsection (2) of this section does not apply to:...
BOROUGH OF BAY HEAD, NEW JERSEY
ARTICLE VI: FEEDING OF UNCONFINED WILDLIFE
§ 69-44 Purpose. The purpose of this article is to prohibit the feeding of unconfined wildlife in any public park or on any other property owned, operated or controlled by the Borough of Bay Head, so as to protect public health, safety and welfare, and to prescribe penalties for failure to comply.
§ 69-45 Definitions and word usage. For the purpose of this article, the following terms, phrases, words, and their derivations shall have the meanings stated herein unless their use in the text of this article clearly demonstrates a different meaning. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words used in the plural number include the singular number, and words used in the singular number include the plural number. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
To give, place, expose, deposit, distribute or scatter any edible material with the intention of feeding, attracting, or enticing wildlife. Feeding does not include baiting in the legal taking of fish and/or game.
Any individual, corporation, company, partnership, firm, association, or political subdivision of this state subject to municipal jurisdiction.
Any bird that frequents the water, or lives about rivers, lakes, etc., or on or near the ocean; an aquatic fowl, including but not limited to ducks, geese, swans, heron, and egrets.
WILD ANIMAL and/or WILDLIFE
All animals that are neither human nor domesticated. Includes any animal which is not normally domesticated in this state, including but not limited to bears, coyotes, deer, feral cats, foxes, rodents, groundhogs, opossums, raccoons, skunks, waterfowl, and the like.
§ 69-46 Prohibited conduct. No person shall feed, in any public park or on any other property owned, operated, or controlled by either the Borough of Bay Head or any private owner, any wildlife, excluding confined wildlife (for example, wildlife confined in zoos, parks or rehabilitation centers, or unconfined wildlife at environmental education centers).
A. The feeding of wild animals and/or wildlife is prohibited.
(1) No person shall purposely or knowingly, as said terms are defined in Title 2C of the New Jersey Revised Statutes, feed, bait, or in any manner provide access to food to any wild animal or waterfowl in the Borough on lands either publicly or privately owned.
(2) No person shall purposely or knowingly leave or store any refuse, garbage, food product, pet food, forage product or supplement, salt, seed or birdseed, fruit, or grain in a manner that would constitute an attractant to any wild animal or waterfowl.
(3) No person shall fail to take remedial action to avoid contact or conflict with wild animals, which may include the securing or removal of outdoor trash, cooking grills, pet food, bird feeders or any other similar food source or attractant after being advised by the Borough to undertake such remedial action. Further, after an initial contact or conflict with a wild animal, no person shall continue to provide, or otherwise fail to secure or remove, any likely food sources or attractants, including but not limited to, outdoor trash, grills, pet food, or bird feeders.
B. The feeding of other songbirds and other backyard birds is permitted. Feeding of other songbirds and other backyard birds shall be permitted outdoors at such times and in such numbers that:
(1) Such feeding does not create an unreasonable disturbance that affects the rights of surrounding property owners and renders other persons insecure in the use of their property;
(2) Such feeding does not create an accumulation of droppings on the property and surrounding properties;
(3) Such feeding does not become an attractant for rodents or other wild animals; and
(4) Bird feeders are placed at least five feet above the ground.
C. Enforcement. Each property owner shall have the duty to remove any above-named materials or device placed on the owner's property in violation of this chapter. Failure to remove such materials or device or to make such modifications within 24 hours after notice from the Borough shall constitute a separate violation of this chapter. Ocean County Health Department Personnel, the Zoning Officer, the Animal Control Officer, and all Police Officers of the Borough of Bay Head are hereby given full power and authority to enforce this chapter. No person shall hinder, molest, or interfere with anyone authorized or empowered to perform any duty under this chapter.
D. Penalties. Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be liable to a fine not less than $50 nor more than $500 for each offense, together with the costs of prosecution. A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day or part of each day during which a violation occurs or continues.
§ 69-47 Enforcement.
A. This article shall be enforced by the Police Department, Zoning Officer or Code Enforcement Officer of the Borough of Bay Head.
B. Any person found to be in violation of this article shall be ordered to cease the feeding immediately.
§ 69-48 Violations and penalties. Any person who violates this article or fails to comply with any of its requirements shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to the maximum fines and penalties established under N.J.S.A. 40:49-5 and as same may be amended from time to time. Each and every day a violation of this article shall exist shall constitute a separate violation.
CHAPTER 3 - ANIMALS
Sec. 3-17. - Feeding pigeons, sea gulls, waterfowl and wild animals prohibited.
(a) It is the intent of this section to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community and its wildlife by prohibiting the feeding of pigeons, waterfowl, sea gulls and wild animals in order to prevent public nuisances and to protect the species. Feeding pigeons, waterfowl and sea gulls causes a congregation of said birds resulting in an accumulation of feces or droppings which in turn increases the potential for damage to public property, water quality problems and the spread of disease to residents. Studies have shown that feeding waterfowl and gulls may interrupt normal migration patterns, cause nutritional problems and/or promote the spread of bird diseases. Further, the feeding of wild animals is disruptive to the natural feeding habits of wildlife, and may result in the concentration of wild animals at artificial feeding areas, making them more susceptible to disease transmission. Wild animals can carry many diseases and parasites that readily spread to people and pets.
(b) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Feed means to give, place, expose, deposit, scatter or distribute any edible material, including but not limited to, grain, seed, greens, bread, fruit, pet food or other miscellaneous food scraps with the intention of feeding, attracting or enticing wildlife.
Songbird or other backyard bird includes birds of the suborder oscines or passerine including but not limited to larks, jays, cardinals, shrikes, finches, and orioles, characterized by a vocal apparatus highly specialized for singing.
Waterfowl means any bird that frequents the water, or lives about rivers, lakes, etc. or on or near the sea, including but not limited to ducks, geese, swans, herons, and egrets, whether migratory or not.
Wild animal. See section 3-1.
(c) It shall be unlawful for any person to feed any pigeon, sea gull, waterfowl or wild animal in or on any sidewalk, street, highway or park, or upon any other public property, or upon any private property without the consent of the owner of such private property.
(d) Feeding of songbirds and other backyard birds shall be permitted outdoors on private property at such times and in such numbers that:
(1) Any apparatus used to feed such birds does not become an attractant for wild animals; and
(2) Bird feeders are placed where wildlife other than songbirds would have a difficult time eating from them.
(e) The provisions of this section are declared to be separate and severable. The invalidity of any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or portion of this section, or the invalidity of the application thereof to any person or circumstances shall not affect the validity of the remainder of this section, or the validity of its application to other persons or circumstances.
NATIONAL DECLARATION: FERAL CATS AS PESTS
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
16 July 2015
Feral cats are a nationally significant pest that threaten our unique native fauna. While recognizing the important role of domestic cats as companion animals, domestic and stray cats may also threaten native fauna.
Ministers agreed that where effective and humane techniques to control feral cats are available, that do not pose an unacceptable threat to the survivability and ecological function of non-target protected species in the treatment area, they should be pursued in coordination with other pest control activities to benefit threatened species.
Ministers committed to reviewing their jurisdictional arrangements including consultation with key stakeholders and interested community members and, based on this review, remove any unnecessary legal impediments to land managers undertaking feral cat control and management within a 12 month timeframe, where possible.
Ministers also agreed that the management of feral cats will be considered a priority in threatened species recovery programs.
Ministers supported community efforts to undertake and promote responsible pet ownership, and agreed to pursue the development of a national best practice approach to the keeping of domestic cats.