SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (AP) — A waste management authority in South Lake Tahoe has started offering homeowners loans to buy bear-proof garbage bins in an effort to reduce conflicts with the animals who wander into neighborhoods in search of an easy meal.

The bear box loan program approved in March allows homeowners to apply for loans of up to $1,200 for the bear-proof containers.

Administered by South Tahoe Refuse, the loan payments span five years and include quarterly payments of up to $65 on top of the regular garbage collection service bill.

Bear protection advocates and the Nevada Department of Wildlife long have advocated mandatory bear-proof bins, but local governments have resisted because of the costs.

South Tahoe Refuse Administrator Jeanette Tillman told the Tahoe Daily Tribune they’ve already received more than 100 loan applications.

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