The District of Columbia Council tentatively approved a bill that would create new standards for animal control. The bill applies to companies and their methods of capturing unwanted wild animals, which some consider pests.
The bill would outlaw animal control companies using body-crushing traps, glue, snares, and leg hold traps for catching raccoons, foxes, squirrels and possums. Under the law, poison would no longer be allowed to kill pigeons and sparrows. Glue traps also will not be allowed for snakes; glue traps do not harm snakes so much, but they do catch other species unintentionally and cause much suffering.
The law would require the permissible traps be checked every 24 hours to make sure no animals are stuck in them for long periods, when they might be injured or confined and in stress.
The law’s main point is to have wild animals in the city be treated with care, “A wildlife control operator shall make every reasonable effort to preserve family units using humane eviction and/or displacement and reunion strategies. Wildlife captured by a wildlife control operator may be held in captivity for up to 72 hours when reunion attempts are employed. A wildlife control operator shall not knowingly abandon dependent young in a structure.” (Source: WTOP.com)
The reason it is important to keep animal families intact, is that mothers separated from their young will return to wherever they believe they are. If a mother skunk has been relocated after being captured, she will return to a nesting site repeatedly, even if the babies are no longer there.
Rats and mice are exempt from the law’s protections. Lethal traps could still be used if the bill is passed into law.
Councilwoman Mary Cheh, who sponsored the bill said, “They use traps that effectively torture animals, that non-targeted animals like pets sometimes get captured in them. When they do kill animals, they use horrific methods like beating them to death or drowning them.” (Source: USA9.com)
Thirty states across the country already have similar wildlife regulations. One way to reduce wild animals on residential property is to secure all trash. Also, not feeding them intentionally, or unintentionally by leaving pet food out, helps.
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