Panhandling Squirrels May Be Cut Off
An ordinance to restrict panhandling by squirrels in city parks will go before the City Council for a vote July 13.
Public comment will be taken before the vote.
Police say they need such a law because the growing number of soliciting squirrels at certain park benches presents a public safety hazard for those trying to eat their lunch and those begging for handouts.
"The legislative role of government is to provide for the public safety of the community," Councilwoman Ruthie Smith said during an informal council meeting Monday.
Some members of the council wondered if the ordinance would violate the right to free speech. Officials with the City Attorney's Office said the Colorado Supreme Court upheld a similar law adopted in Aurora. Besides, they agreed, we are talking about squirrels here.
Still, some council members had reservations about it.
"I have a small Libertarian streak in me," said Councilman Tom (Bumps) McGee. "The market is there. If the market didn't exist, the problem would take care of itself."