WASHINGTON — Fairfax County police are pleading with residents to stop feeding wild animals, such as raccoons, foxes, squirrels and coyotes.
It is a growing problem in neighborhoods around the area, and it can lead to negative consequences for both homeowners and wildlife.
“People feed wildlife just because they want to enjoy them on their property and be able to have close encounters that you normally wouldn’t be able to see,” said Katie Edwards, wildlife management specialist with the Fairfax County Police Department.
Residents are typically well-meaning when they feed wild animals using pet food, peanuts, bread and table scraps.
However, it is doing the wildlife more harm than good, causing the animals to lose their ability to get food naturally.
Additionally, wild animals can be dangerous when they become too comfortable around humans, growing more aggressive and bold.
“Under natural conditions, these animals would pose little risk to people and their pets. It is through the act of feeding wildlife, that animals often become a nuisance or potential hazard,” Edwards said.
Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.
© 2015 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.