GATLINBURG, Tenn.—The Gatlinburg Police Department and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency recently conducted an Animal Resistant Garbage Container compliance check in the Airport Road area of downtown Gatlinburg.
Officers with each agency were on foot in the area to determine compliance for animal-proof garbage containers. During the inspections, four warnings were issued to area businesses to come into compliance. Those warned during the inspections have 60 days to either fully enclose their garbage containers or update them to be in compliance.
“The goal of this compliance check was to make sure all local businesses and individuals are being proactive about their proper storage of garbage,” Gatlinburg Police Chief Randy Brackins said. “It is our goal to keep bears wild and storing garbage improperly jeopardizes the lives and safety of bears, as well as the safety of our citizens and visitors.”
City Ordinance 2188 requires these receptacles to be resistant to be opened, overturned or have garbage removed from them by animals. A TWRA Proclamation (00-17) filed in August 2000 also prohibits the intentional or incidental feeding of bears.
Violations of the City Ordinance are subject to a fine and court costs of $113.75, while the violation of the TWRA Proclamation is a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by fines, as well as possible community service.
Gatlinburg continues to request that citizens and visitors to be Bear Aware and to notify the Police Department of any bear sightings or encounters within Gatlinburg in order to keep bears wild. Any bear-related incidents can be reported to the Gatlinburg Police Department by calling 865-436-5181.
The City also reminds individuals to follow these six basics to help keep bears wild:
- Never feed or approach bears.
- Secure food, garbage and recycling.
- Remove bird feeders when bears are active.
- Never leave pet food outside.
- Clean and store grills.
- Know what to do if you see a bear. Black bears are seldom aggressive and attacks are rare, but if you see a bear before it notices you stand still, don’t approach and enjoy the moment; then move away quietly in the opposite direction. If you encounter a bear that is aware of you, don’t run, as running may trigger a chase response. Back away slowly. Make sure bears are not cornered and have an escape route during any encounters.
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