County adds signs in Oatman prohibiting the feeding of wild burros in the roadway

Mohave County, Arizona, soon will add signs informing motorists the feeding of wild burros in Oatman is prohibited if the animals are standing on the Route 66 roadway.

The signs are being added for the safety of burros and motorists.

The county’s board of supervisors without comment on Monday unanimously approved the proposal for the new signs amid about two dozen other items in its consent agenda.

According to the county’s Public Works director: “Engineering and traffic investigations have identified an issue of drivers stopping in the roadway to feed burros in Oatman that warrants the installation of NO FEEDING IN ROADWAY regulatory signage.”

Here’s what the signs will look like:

The measure also states “the concern is not so much negative effects on the health of the animals from artificial feeding as the roadway blockage and potential for vehicle/burro conflicts, leading to a need to include a ‘NO STOPPING’ type message.”

The measure states the signs will be placed on the outskirts of Oatman on approaches to the village, including westbound or eastbound Route 66.

Tracy Sage, an employee of the Oatman General Store, told the Havasu News-Herald the signs are needed.

“It definitely needs to be limited,” Sage said of the proposed resolution. “Feeding burros in the streets puts the burros in danger. If they get used to staying in the roads … we’ve actually lost a few of them that way, when drivers aren’t paying attention.”

The measure doesn’t mean people can’t feed the burros at all. If the animals are off the roadway or in a side alley, feeding them is OK.

The burros are a big tourist attraction in Oatman. Visitors pet the often-docile animals or feed them alfalfa cubes sold by stores as they roam the village. At nightfall, the animals graze in the nearby mountains or valleys.

The burros are descendants of animals used in area gold mines a century ago. When the mines closed, workers turned the burros loose.

(Image of one of the Oatman burros by Ethan Kan via Flickr; an image of the new road signs for Oatman via Mohave County document)

5 thoughts on “County adds signs in Oatman prohibiting the feeding of wild burros in the roadway

  1. Seems like common sense would dictate that people not do this, even without being prodded by signs. The stupidity of people (or is it self-centeredness?) never ceases to amaze me.

  2. A bit of that rare thing: common sense. In the UK, free roaming (but owned, not wild) ponies of Dartmoor and in the New Forest suffer from the same thoughtless feeding by people who usually know nothing about animals.

  3. There is a certain word: CUTE. People think it “cute” to feed any ‘wild’ animals. They also think such animals will starve if not fed by townie tourists. Apparently one of the worst foods to give to ducks is bread! There is the oft repeated story of townies pestering farmers and horse owners when they see livestock or horses simply lying down; they think the animals are ill! Do these townies never sit down, or lie down?

  4. My husband and I visited Oatman yesterday and it was my first time. He wanted me to see the cute town and get to feed the animals. There were no signs up. A psychotic woman started saying we were breaking the law and would get a 3000 ticket. I called the Sheriffs and was told we hadn’t broke the law and no citations were being given for feeding Burros? It was a horrible experience as she starting following us in her SUV. We are terrified to visit the town again.

  5. I had a similar experience yesterday, likely same self appointed vigilanty. Having no regard whatsoever for circumstance, she proceeded to lecture and threaten me. I was simply passing thru town when I witnessed a burro get spooked and run into traffic, I had pulled over to try and coax it off the road and help to calm it by extending my hand w a couple of nuts. I was taken back by the approach of this woman inaddition to a very angry man who passed by before her and spewed a nonsensical tirade out his window about ” someone getting killed because of this shit” Having moved here just a year ago, I have found Oatman delightful the few times I’ve been there. However , when being attacked in the midst of an innocent gesture makes one reconsider returning for safety reasons. The Towns people cannot have it both ways, encouraging feeding the burros and then demeaning, raging at and victimizing those who mean no harm and are simply following suit.

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