Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007 | I know this happens at Lake Murray and am told it happens at other lakes throughout San Diego.
I have never seen any police enforcement of Sec. 597 of the California State Penal Code which is mentioned on the signs at Lake Murray: “It is a felony to harm, harass or disturb wildlife and is subject to a $20,000 fine and/or imprisonment.” If this law were enforced, it seems that it would bring in much needed revenue by way of fines, not to mention allowing those who come to the lakes to enjoy the wildlife to do so without seeing it being tormented.
People go to their local lakes to enjoy the wildlife, not to watch it being injured by adults and their children throwing rocks and large sticks “at the lake” which means at the waterfowl on the lake and animals swimming beneath the surface. Much of the waterfowl swim for distances just beneath the surface as well. I recently saw two boys throwing rocks at an injured duck on land, so they could not use the excuse that they were throwing rocks “at the lake.” I have seen children tossing bread to ducks on the lake and when the ducks swim near, throwing rocks at the ducks and hitting them.
The lake staff at Lake Murray has not been able to stop this practice. When they do ask someone to stop, they are often yelled at by the person who is throwing rocks or allowing their children to throw rocks. If this law were enforced, by fines, it would go a long way toward stopping it.
The lakes need either staff or volunteers dedicated to watch for this illegal activity and who have the authority to stop it and issue fines. If San Diego needs revenue, I would suggest that handing out $20,000 fines daily would help.
Go to Lake Murray on any given afternoon and you most likely will see someone throwing rocks.