Juneau residents getting tickets under 'garbage bear' law

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- About 100 people have been ticketed since February for violating a new law designed to keep trash from attracting bears to residential areas.

The city hired a community service officer in February to work full-time on enforcing the trash ordinance, passed last year by the Juneau Assembly. The law is aimed at preventing human-bear interactions, which in past years have led to bears being killed.

''When people don't take care of their trash, the bears can just come in and take what they want. It's basically six days of free eating,'' said Bob Dilley, the city officer enforcing the law.

Before the Juneau Assembly created Dilley's position, the job of enforcing the garbage law was held by community service officers with other responsibilities, and violators were rarely ticketed.

The law prohibits residents from putting garbage out earlier than 4 a.m. on the day of pickup. They must cover trash cans containing food waste and must label the cans with the owner's address. Other than pickup day, cans must be stored in a closed garage or other bear-resistant enclosure.

First-time household garbage violations warrant a $25 ticket, with second and third violations increasing to $50 and $100.

Pat Costello, an advocate for dealing with urban bear problems, said the city has improved garbage law enforcement since last year, but he would like to see more officers assigned to the work.

Maria Gladziszewski, the city's tourism director, who helped with a public awareness campaign on the issue, said Juneau is doing more than many communities.

''Cities all over the U.S. have tried to get out this message about keeping garbage away from bears,'' Gladziszewski said. ''Juneau is one of the communities that has backed this up with responsible law.''

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