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Writer: ‘Do not feed the wildlife’

POSTED: December 7, 2017 2:30 p.m.

Editor:

I have been a resident of Liberty County for almost 20 years. I never viewed a sign in our County that warned, “Do not feed the wildlife”, but I would like to see such a sign posted at my area dump site.
The Isle of White sanitation and recycling dump is currently a magnet for vagrants and panhandlers. Some Island residents have encouraged their presence by giving them money. While I believe in compassion toward fellow human beings, I object to panhandling at the area refuse station.

Though I am female and a senior citizen, I can unload my garbage without assistance. The difficulty arises when I am alone. I find it unnerving to see a tall man emerging from behind the recycle bin where he was hiding. He comes toward me with a purposeful limp in one leg. I am an elderly female alone and this man is not the usual loiterer.

A lawful definition: “Loitering is the act of remaining in a particular public place for a protracted time without any apparent lawful purpose. Under certain circumstances, it is illegal in various jurisdictions.”

My complaint is simple. Any individual that does not have a vehicle, nor has evidence of garbage to dump, and is not a county worker should not be allowed to loiter. Many people view the constant presence of these vagrants as harmless. I do not. I am taxpayer and owner of three Liberty County properties. I should be entitled to peaceful access to my area facility without feeling endangered.

There are city and county dumpsites throughout Georgia that have paid attendants in booths. The presence of these workers in my area would insure safety, rightful dumping, and no loitering.

Meanwhile, I am grateful to the 911 service which sent a deputy to register my complaint on several occasions. In my solitary situation a police presence insured safety to dump my household garbage. However, the burden for resident safety should rest with the Liberty County Solid Waste Authority, not the police department.

To the kind residents of Midway, I am reminded of a sign regarding alligators “Do not feed the wildlife,” for it may invite an attack. The undomesticated will mark an area as a feeding ground and come to depend upon others for their sustenance. This result is more crippling then helpful in my opinion.

Judith Herren
Liberty County

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