The seagulls in one Jersey Shore town have become so adept at stealing food that its mayor is now publicly calling on residents to help manage the problem.
In an open letter, Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian said the birds have become aggressive and pose a public safety hazard after multiple reports of them swooping down and taking food right out of people's hands both on the beach and the boardwalk.
"Some people think it's funny to feed the gulls and see them swarm. For the health and safety of both animals and humans, this must stop," Gillian said, adding that it's illegal to feed seagulls and other wildlife in Ocean City.
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People should not hit or throw stones at the birds, but they should make sure to protect their food from them to cut off an "easy and unnatural food supply," the mayor said.
Gillian also urged food vendors to provide enclosed containers for takeout orders and said his administration will "work with boardwalk merchants to explore the feasibility of netting, noise and other ways" of dealing with the city's avian tormentors.