HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - A Hallandale Beach man who had reported a coyote in his neighborhood said he was nearly taken into custody after he refused to sign a citation for feeding wildlife.
Frankie Gadman said he deemed it unfair that he should be punished, since he was the one who reported the animal, Tuesday morning.
“I openly admitted that I fed a raccoon on the news and to the officers,” he said. “They could have come by and educated me on the situation rather than treat me like I did something wrong.”
But feeding wild animals is against the law in Florida.
Gadman’s ordeal was tied to what happened Sunday. He showed a 7News crew the location in his backyard where he first spotted the coyote.
“I got to about right here, and I could see him laying right there in these bushes,” he said.
Gadman said he called police with the goal of getting the animal some help and to protect his neighbors.
“They were able to capture it and hold it until a Florida [Fish and] Wildlife officer got here,” he said.
The coyote was taken to the South Florida Wildlife Center for a checkup and treatment. It turns out the animal was not injured and may have just been hungry.
Officials said there was food in Gadman’s backyard set out for the neighborhood raccoon.
Dr. Julie D’Errico at the South Florida Wildlife Center said that’s not a good idea.
“What you’re doing is, you’re inviting all kinds of wildlife to come into your backyard and eat there, too,” she said.
When officers came knocking Wednesday, Gadman said he was completely caught off guard.
“I said, ‘I was just trying to do a good deed here, and now you’re threatening to put me into jail?’ It’s crazy,” he said.
In the end, the handcuffs came off, and Gadman agreed to sign the ticket. He learned a tough lesson to the tune of $105.
“I do understand. I just wish they would have educated me a little bit on it because I fed raccoons at the park as a kid, and I never knew there was a law on that,” he said.
When in doubt about whether or not to feed an animal, officials advise residents to check with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission beforehand.
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