We have some potentially good news! Scrap the Trap reps met with city executives recently, including the Director of Public Safety and other Public Safety officials, the Animal Care and Control Supervisor and the City Attorney. This was a very positive meeting, in which we were able to present the rational reasons (cost/safety/disease management/ethics) for reducing city wildlife trapping to strictly emergency situations only. It is our impression that City officials were extremely receptive to these arguments.
However, it’s far from time to cry victory. We’re talking politics, after all… The Department of Public Safety can’t do much without the blessing of City Council. And Animal Control is also obligated to follow the remit it is given by Council (so if you’re tempted to blame City ACC officers, please don’t… Their job is made much harder by the trapping element).
What does all that mean? It means: get on your phones or email or postcards or use the contact form on this website to let your council member know that you are among the “silent majority” of city residents who believe that City Animal Control wildlife trapping services should be provided strictly in the case of true emergencies (animal in living area of the house or sick / injured animal). We don’t need trapping, we need in-depth resident wildlife education on a par with what the most progressive cities in the nation are offering. (If you are not a city resident, please email the Mayor and let him know that trapping wildlife isn’t a good fit for a progressive city like Pittsburgh.)
One other thing: for this meeting, we prepared a list of around 25 other cities which, like Pittsburgh, have signed on to the Paris Climate Agreement, suggesting that these are among the most progressive cities in the nation. Of all the cities we investigated (big cities and randomly selected smaller ones), only Cleveland, OH, not only comes close to but… is actually worse than Pittsburgh! Why? Because they operate the same wildlife trapping system and, based on our call to Cleveland Animal Control, won’t even tell callers the truth about what happens to the animals they trap (in contrast, Pittsburgh ACC does inform residents that trapped raccoons, groundhogs and skunks will be killed).
Does Pittsburgh want to be like Cleveland? NO! We can do better; we will do better than Cleveland! So email, call, write… this week, please! Whether it’s a couple of sentences or your own personal wildlife novella, please just let your council rep or the mayor know that extensive wildlife trapping and killing to serve a small minority of residents is not an appropriate solution for a green, progressive city.
Here’s our list of cities if you’re interested:
In general, do not handle wildlife unless it is on property owned/controlled by the City of Albany. Make exceptions where necessary, i.e. when the safety and security of residents is in jeopardy. On private property the owners are responsible for most wildlife issues.
No wildlife services provided by AC. Citizens must file and obtain a special permit as trapping is illegal.
Austin does not even mention “nuisance” wildlife on its website and is very focused on the “positive” side of its local fauna. It promotes its National Wildlife Federation certification and its effort at habitat creation. Wildlife issues are theoretically channeled through Travis County, but again there is no mention of wildlife issues on their website.
No mention of wildlife anywhere on the Animal Control page and the service can only be accessed via the local 311. Baltimore County refers people to the Maryland DNR.
Not clear on website. Local Humane Society has the ACC contract but says nothing about wildlife. 311 service had no idea and provided the number of Public Works, which did not answer the phone.
Provides extensive information on co-existence with wildlife on its website, including very detailed information on solutions to excluding or evicting animals from property. AC will transport injured or orphaned animals to a wildlife rehab center. Will remove and release an animal in the same immediate area. “Unfortunately, we can't help you with constant problems, like squirrels living in your ceilings. You need to hire a private trapper.”
City channels wildlife through local SPCA. SPCA suggests ways to evict or exclude the animal. No agents are ever sent out for nuisance wildlife, and if the resident insists that the animal needs to be trapped they are told to hire a private contractor.
Provides a wildlife F&Q page but does not provide an emergency service unless sick or injured. In fact, Animal Care & Control is prohibited by the State of NC to handle wild animals unless they are sick or injured, even then that person must be a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. “Do not confine them as we will end up releasing them back into your yard anyway.” Provides a detailed “Living with wildlife” page focused on deterrents and best practices. They request that residents only call them if an animal is acting “drunk”.
In limited emergency circumstances only, Chicago Animal Care and Control may provide traps and pick up the captured animals. The Animal Control web page links to a local wildlife rehab center and provides a specific Q&A section on coyote issues.
The only city to offer the same service as Pittsburgh: AC will pick up owned traps or loan them out. No wildlife information/advice offered on city website, although the trapping service is not advertised either. The person we spoke to on the phone “did not know” what happens to the animals they trap. As in PA, Ohio state law mandates that all rabies vector species be euthanized, so in fact all raccoons and skunks (OH rabies vector species) are killed.
In the case of a sick or injured animal, the city 311 sends a service form to a state-mandated veterinarian for pick-up. The city will not intervene in any other wildlife-related matters, which it views as “private.” It has launched a “Keeping Wildlife Wild” campaign.
No AC wildlife services offered except dead animal removal.
Denver Animal Protection responds to calls regarding wildlife if the animal is sick or injured. Residents are instructed not to call if the conflict is simply "nuisance" in nature.
For other issues pertaining to wildlife, such as keeping wild animals off their property, they are told to visit the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website.
Does not offer AC services. if sick or orphaned animals are encountered there is a number for a wildlife rescue center. Main website refers to ways of coexistence with wildlife: “Whether you are a fan of wildlife or not, we must remind ourselves that we are the ones moving into their natural environments. In one way or another, these animals all play vital roles in the balance of our environment. They deserve our respect and understanding of their behaviors. For the safety of these wild animals and for the safety of you, your pets and your family, it is important to take steps to safeguard your home to minimize contact and potential damage.”
Only pick up sick/injured animals that pose a direct threat.
If someone objects to raccoons, for example, in their area they have to call a pest control company.
Website content: “The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services has a Wildlife Division to aid residents in rectifying problems and some of the uneasiness that many people face with wildlife. This program allows for a Department representative to provide on-site evaluations, education on methods of exclusion, deterrents and discouragement of wildlife forays into our City neighborhoods. It is not the intention of the Department of Animal Services to remove wildlife from residential areas. Rather, the Department is working to rectify most problems through neighborhood education and individual homeowner attention. This is a multi-tiered program designed to help neighborhoods better deal with wildlife issues, and further lessen contact with these animals by investigating changes in both human and wildlife behavior.”
The only time they respond to any wildlife calls is if there is an injured or rabid animal. For cases such as raccoon in walls, chimneys, etc., they ask people to call a DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) approved "trapper". Other than the injured or rabid animal, they do not respond to wildlife calls.
ACCT Philly will only respond if an animal is in a common area of the home (for example: the animal is in an area of the home such as the living room or bedroom, they will not respond if the animal is in the walls, attic, or crawl space of the home); or if the animal is sick or injured.
State of AZ Game Commission states wildlife should be left alone, refers to professional rehabbers for injured animals. With a comprehensive list of resources about coexisting with wildlife. City of Phoenix: if animal is in need of help, provides specific instructions to bring to wildlife center, stresses and encourages wildlife should be left alone. The most extensive wildlife input on Maricopa County’s page is a “Wildlife selfies” section.
City of Portland has no AC dept. They refer to Multnomah County Animal Control dept., which states that it does not deal with wildlife issues, and refers all wildlife issues to Portland Audubon Society.
Refers to San Diego County, which will only respond to genuine animal-related emergencies, or sick/injured or orphaned animals. “We do not respond to reports of wildlife being loose or simply roaming.” Spotlights local wildlife centers on its wildlife page.
Has a dedicated “Living with urban wildlife” page and a “Raccoon coexistence action plan” and features extensive “living with wildlife” information and links to further resources on its website. Sick and injured animals only.
Doesn’t offer AC services for wildlife. Website refers to ways of coexistence with wildlife.
Animal Control refers all wildlife issues to a local wildlife center, PAWS. It will go out for sick and injured wildlife but does not provide any kind of emergency service.