One of the best things about living in Fountain Hills is that we get to see a lot more wildlife in our day to day lives than many communities around the Valley.

The problem with that is that some folks start to think of all those critters as their outdoor pets. Some even go so far as to provide food and water for the javelina and coyote that can occasionally be seen parading through our neighborhoods.

As has become an annual tradition, we’d like to remind our readers that such behavior is not only dangerous, it’s also illegal. A couple of years ago, we learned the hard way just how dangerous it can be to get too comfortable with the local wildlife, as several javelina attacks resulted in injured pets and residents. When the animals in question were located, they unfortunately had to be put down.

As Ranger Amy Burnett explains in this week’s 1A story, the easiest way to avoid these situations is to treat the local wildlife with the respect it deserves. They’ve lived here far longer than we humans and can find food and water in their natural environment without any help. Plus, giving them a reason to feel too comfortable in our communities can have dangerous consequences; not to mention that food you tossed out for the large peccaries might actually attract something far more dangerous to the area.

Burnett does a good job of breaking down the issue and reminding our readers of steps they can take if they ever find themselves in close proximity to the desert wildlife. For more details, though, we encourage everyone to drop by her presentation next Tuesday, Feb. 12, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Center.

Put briefly, enjoy all of those animals from afar and do your best not to give them additional reasons to hang out where our kids play and our pooches go for walks.