Proposed Riverside County ordinance tightens restrictions on feeding wild burros

COLTON, Calif. (KABC) -- Wild burros are plentiful and easy to spot all along Reche Canyon. The wet winter has left them with lush hillsides to feast on. Longtime residents say they've come to rely on these herds.

"They don't bother me a bit, they keep the weeds down. They are like fire protection," said resident Daniel Grecian.

But even with plentiful food sources, the burros continue to wander dangerously close to the roadway and traffic.

Locals say that it's not the burros that are the nuisance, but the people who feed them.

"When they feed them it attracts them on the road and then they get killed. They get hit," Grecian said.

Bryndon Michener doesn't see a problem with feeding the animals. Michener is a member of the Clampers group, a local organization that seeks to preserve the historic west.

As Michener sees it, these donkeys are part of the area's history. "People like me want to come out and see them," Michener said.

But donkey advocates and residents say these feedings put the burros at risk. They are backing a proposed Riverside County ordinance that they hope will put a stop to the activity already banned under state law.

"It is simply a allowing us to have another layer of authority. If people are doing something they shouldn't, for example feeding the burros, we can cite those individuals," said John Welsh of the Riverside County Animal Services Department.

People on both side of the issue agree on one thing: The burros are here to stay and motorists who travel the area need to slow down and watch out for them.
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