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October 22, 2012

Controlling Wildlife Humanely

Killing is not the answer to wildlife problems

The Humane Society of the United States

  • Before hiring someone, research to find a wildlife control company that offers humane solutions to wildlife problems.  John Griffin/The HSUS.

  • A one-way door and reunion box are humane eviction tools. John Griffin/The HSUS.

Most people’s enjoyment of wildlife ends at the front door. Raccoons in the woods behind our house may be a delight, while raccoons in the chimney or attic may not.

So what can you do when you want that uninvited guest to leave?

The humane approach

Unwanted wild guests can be evicted humanely—and permanently. Whether the problem is in your neighborhood, your yard, or your house, there are a variety of humane approaches.

What is non-lethal wildlife control?

Non-lethal wildlife control is an increasingly popular way to manage human-wildlife conflicts without killing and, in most cases, without relocating the wild animals. It is the most effective means of reducing and/or eliminating problems, because it addresses causes—that is, what attracted the animal to become an unwanted guest in the first place.

Do it yourself

To solve problems with any animal, it helps to know something about that animal. The place to start your search for the right humane solution is with our Top Ten Problems.

Hiring a professional wildlife control company

If you are ready to hire a company (typically called a “pest control service”) to help you resolve the problem, please read and follow these seven tips before choosing one.

Selecting the right company makes a difference. For example, a wildlife control company should tell you straight out when they are bound by state law to kill an animal once they’ve trapped her, and offer the humane option of exclusion and release on site.

Quite often, however, a quick fix approach is used that leaves the cause of the problem unaddressed (for instance, they won’t suggest you cap a chimney or seal an entry point into an attic). This is irresponsible, but it can lead to repeat business.

Products and practices to avoid

At the top of the list of products and practices you should avoid are:

How to find humane products

From chimney caps to box traps, find what you need to humanely solve conflicts with wildlife here. Many of these products are discussed in our book, Wild Neighbors™: The Humane Approach to Living with Wildlife

The HSUS’s Humane Wildlife Services

If you live in the Washington, D.C., Metro area, one option is to contact The HSUS’s Humane Wildlife Services. HWS is a for-profit branch of The HSUS that works to develop and implement humane wildlife solutions and to serve as a model for wildlife control companies around the country. (Canada was the first country to implement this type of model program.)

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