Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds everyone to stop feeding the wildlife

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The Game and Fish Department is warning people not to feed wildlife (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Game and Fish Department is warning people not to feed wildlife (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Game and Fish Department is warning people not to feed wildlife (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Game and Fish Department is warning people not to feed wildlife (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is reminding everyone to stop feeding wildlife after two javelina attacks near Sedona last month. Both attacks were the result of people feeding javelina at their homes.

On Feb. 5, the agency received information that a 79-year-old woman was bitten by a javelina in a neighborhood southwest of Sedona. The attack occurred around 4 p.m. at the woman’s residence, where she received severe bite wounds to her legs as she tried to stop the javelina from attacking her dogs.

[RELATED: AZGFD reminding the public not to feed wildlife after javelina bite two in Sedona

A responding AZGFD officer confirmed that the woman was intentionally feeding a herd or javelina at her home.

The second incident occurred on Feb. 25, when an elderly man was bitten by a javelin in Oak Creek Village as he was feeding a herd of javelina in his backyard. When food was not provided quickly enough, one of the animals became impatient -- and aggressive -- and bit the man's leg.

Although both victims were treated and ultimately released, the incidents caused wildlife officials to conduct "lethal" removal of the javelina within a quarter-mile radius of the victims’ residences.

[MORE: Animals news]

When wildlife are fed by people, they lose their natural fear of humans and become dependent on unnatural food sources.

“The Game and Fish Department strong discourages feeding wildlife other than birds and tree squirrels,” said Scott Poppenberger, an Arizona Game and Fish Department Flagstaff regional supervisor. “Wildlife feeding frequently creates dangerous situations for both wildlife and people, often setting the stage for attacks.”

Feeding wildlife is actually illegal in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties. The fine can be up to $300.

In addition to not intentionally feeding wildlife, AZGFD suggests keeping birdseed off the ground, storing your garbage securely, fencing your garden and feeding your pets inside.

Those tips and more are part of a brochure AZGFD has put together. It's called "Keep Wildlife Wild!"

[DOWNLOAD: "Keep Wildlife Wild" brochure]

The agency also has brochures for dealing with specific wild animals and a FAQ webpage.

[ONLINE: AZGFD's Living with Wildlife webpage]


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