GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Remember to keep your trash locked so animals don't get into it!
The Gatlinburg Police Department said Tuesday that they teamed up with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to check garbage containers, making sure trash was secure so bears and other animals could not get in. They issued four warnings to businesses as a result of the checks, according to officials.
“The goal of this compliance check was to make sure all local businesses and individuals are being proactive about their proper storage of garbage,” said Randy Brackins, the Gatlinburg police chief. “It is our goal to keep bears wild and storing garbage improperly jeopardizes the lives and safety of bears, as well as the safety of our citizens and visitors.”
The City of Gatlinburg requires containers to resist being opened by animals or overturned. The TWRA also prohibits intentionally or incidentally feeding bears.
The businesses that police warned during the checks will have 60 days to secure their garbage or face fines.
The city is also reminding people to follow six steps to help protect bears:
- Never feed or approach bears.
- Secure food, garbage and recycling.
- Remove bird feeders when bears are active.
- Never leave pet food outside.
- Clean and store grills.
- Know what to do if you see a bear.
- Black bears are seldom aggressive and attacks are rare, but if you see a bear before it notices you stand still, don’t approach and enjoy the moment; then move away quietly in the opposite direction. If you encounter a bear that is aware of you, don’t run, as running may trigger a chase response. Back away slowly. Make sure bears are not cornered and have an escape route during any encounters.
Officials said anyone who sees a bear within Gatlinbbutg should reach out to the police department at (865) 436-5181.