The mayor of Ocean City, New Jersey says seagulls have become “very aggressive” in the municipality and warns that feeding the birds is against the law.
In an online statement, Mayor Jay Gillian says he’s received “many more” complaints about seagulls taking food from people on the boardwalk and beach.
“These birds have become very aggressive and pose a public safety hazard. Some people think it’s funny to feed the gulls and see them swarm. For the health and safety of both animals and humans, this must stop,” he urged.
“Feeding gulls and wildlife in Ocean City is against the law,” the mayor added.
In July 2016, Gillian warned that city police would strictly enforce a municipal ordinance that prohibits the feeding of wildlife. Violators face a fine as high as $500 and penalties up to 90 days in jail.
No tickets were issued that summer.
Gillian now says his administration will work with boardwalk merchants on measures to prevent seagulls from pilfering food, such as using netting and noise deterrent techniques.
“Please understand that you can’t hit them or throw things at them. But you can help by keeping food away from them,” he wrote.