WBL City Council

Post date: Jun 13, 2012 3:04:41 AM

This page describes how the City of White Bear Lake, MN developed and enacted a trapping Ordinance in response to the Petition for Protection from Trapping in the White Bear Lake, MN area. The City Council authorized City Staff to conduct the due process. City Staff did the research, public hearings were held, and a fair and balanced trapping Ordinance was passed on 1/8/2013!

1/8/2013: White Bear Lake City Council Meeting. Second public hearing of a new revision of a proposed trapping Ordinance.

The City of White Bear Lake has a new trapping Ordinance!

In a way, it's not a big deal because all it gives us is the security that we thought we already had--living in a community where neighbors are responsible for each others' safety. But in another way, it is a big deal because it restores that security.

Residents and friends of the City of White Bear Lake were invited to a pre-meeting gathering hosted by White Bear Lake resident Scott Slocum and Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection's President Christine Coughlin. Christine and Scott presented information, answered questions, and helped to prepare residents and friends to speak to the City Council. Scott's information included a rationale for a City trapping Ordinance and a plain-language version of the new Ordinance. Christine focused the group's attention on the task at hand and prepared individuals to address the City Council (although many were shy). City Hall's conference room #2 was full and buzzing.

Everyone from the pre-meeting gathering attended the City Council Meeting, and several came forward to speak. Their involvement was critical, as was the input of everyone who signed the Petition or contacted the City Council or City Staff. Thanks to all!

12/11/2012: White Bear Lake City Council Meeting. First public hearing of a proposed trapping Ordinance.

Scott spread the word about this hearing so that trappers would be sure to have input into it. Three came to be heard: Joel Anderson, past president of the Minnesota Trappers Association; Jim DuFour, outgoing Forest Lake City Councilman and area nuisance-control operator; and Jeremy Taft, Coon Rapids Professional Wildlife Control technician. Scott read his 12/11/2012 statement in support of the proposed Ordinance, and responded to comments.

The main argument of the opposition was that the proposed Ordinance was an attempt to prohibit trapping. Scott refuted that claim by pointing out the actual features of proposed Ordinance, which would only prohibit trapping that posed danger of injury to people or domestic pets.

The City Council had a good discussion that considered all of the points of view that had been presented by the trappers and the dog owners. They asked for more information, and for a revised proposal that would more clearly balance the need to manage wildlife with the need to ensure the safety of people and their pets.

Of course, the Council is aware of the hundreds of signatures on the Petition for Protection from Trapping in the White Bear Lake, MN area, but this would be a good time for White Bear Lake residents who haven't yet signed this petition to join in, and for those who have already signed to send a message to your White Bear Lake City Council Member about your concerns for balance and safety in wildlife management. Two basic talking points: 1) yes, there is an ongoing need to respond to wildlife problems, but 2) no, the response should not endanger people and domestic animals in the community.

This meeting was written up in a 12/19/2012 article in the White Bear Press. Scott did some preliminary fact-checking in comments on the online version of the article.

11/28/2012: a public hearing of a proposed, new trapping Ordinance was announced for the 12/11/2012 White Bear Lake City Council meeting.

10/23/2012: White Bear Lake City Council meeting. A proposed Ordinance (similar to the Simple System on the Safe Suburban Wildlife Management website) was given its first reading.

10/9/2012: Scott completed a recommended Ordinance for Wildlife Management Programs and brought a copy to City Hall. Staff there have been authorized by the City Council to look into ways to respond to the Petition for Protection from Trapping in the White Bear Lake, MN area, with this recommended ordinance as one of the options. Some time has been scheduled for discussion at the 11/13/2012 City Council meeting.

9/25/2012: The Council received Scott Slocum's 9/12/2012 letter reiterating the advantages of the Shoreview model for Wildlife Management Programs. The letter included an update about the lack of news from the White Bear Township Board about how they were progressing with the development of their own trapping regulations and permitting system (rather than following the Shoreview model). In accord with the Petition for Protection from Trapping, the letter stressed that protection is needed on private property in residential neighborhoods as much as it is on public property in the community. The letter didn't include anything about the 9/5/2012 meeting of the White Bear Township Board because Scott hadn't learned about that yet. The meeting that evening was a long one, so Scott wasn't able to stay to the end for possible discussion of the letter. He did have the chance to talk with City Staff about it beforehand, though, and answer a couple of questions.

7/10/2012: The White Bear Lake City Council received the Petition for Protection from Trapping in the White Bear Lake, MN area with open minds and hearts at this evening's meeting. City Manager Mark Sather summarized the letters and informational materials that Scott had sent to accompany the petition signatures. Mr. Sather added information about past problems the City has had with trapping. He briefed the City Council on Minnesota Hunting & Trapping Regulations, and he relayed the advice he had sought from the Minnesota DNR on how to set Ordinances that don't get in the way of responsible suburban wildlife management. The Council then began a rational and constructive discussion of the issues. Mayor Jo Emerson invited Scott to read his prepared statement, but after reading the phrase "right in front of me" (referring to the death of his dog Phillip) he was unable to speak. That was okay though, because the highly-professional City Council and Staff had read their materials and come prepared. They continued the discussion, acknowledging the good advice of responsible trappers and the Minnesota DNR while focusing on the need (and the real potential) to improve public safety without compromising responsible suburban wildlife management. They talked about consulting with neighboring communities in the area in order to gather information and consensus, and perhaps to set a standard policy that they could all adopt, thus eliminating the confusion of having so many different Ordinances in area Cities and Townships. It was so refreshing to see all of this happening!

6/26/2012: Scott sent his initial letter to the White Bear Lake City Council (through his Councilwoman) along with a printed information packet and a copy of the 55 handwritten petition signatures he gathered recently while talking with people in front of City Hall about the issue. Of course, the Petition doesn't get into specifics: it only makes the general plea for protection from trapping. In order to move the process along, the letter does get into specifics, outlining some of the problems with trapping in suburban settings and suggesting a solution: Wildlife Management Program Ordinances like those of Shoreview, MN.

6/18/2012: Scott sent a copy of his 6/18/2012 letter to the White Bear Township Board to his Councilwoman summarizing his presentations to the White Bear Township Board and Public Safety Commission, and asking for Wildlife Management Program Ordinances like those of Shoreview, MN.

6/8/2012: Scott sent an email message to his Councilwoman to introduce the Petition for Protection from Trapping in the White Bear Lake, MN area to the City of White Bear Lake. Next step: talk with interested parties and present the Petition to the City Council at an upcoming meeting.