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updated: 6/27/2013 1:36 PM

Tips for Handling Wildlife Issues

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Lake County Health Department

The Lake County Health Department Animal Care and Control program frequently receives calls for wildlife removal, especially in the warmer months of the year. While Animal Care and Control can provide assistance with domestic and pet animal issues, it does not provide wildlife removal services. Lake County Animal Care and Control should only be called (847.949.9925) if a bat is found inside a residential living space (due to potential rabies exposure), if the wild animal is sick or injured, or if you or your pet has been bitten by the wild animal.

Due to safety concerns, in most cases, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) recommends that you hire a professional nuisance wildlife control operator (NWCO) to remove the animal. These professional services to remove wildlife are fee-based and will remove an animal(s) from your property. NWCOs must pass a test administered by the IDNR to obtain their commercial permit, and they must follow strict guidelines for capturing, handling, and transporting animals. Homeowners are discouraged from trapping the animal themselves (e.g. raccoons, feral cats, etc). Many of the mammals in Illinois are legally protected by the Illinois Wildlife Code, which is available at: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/files/520_ILCS_5_protectedspecies.pdf

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If a wild animal is causing substantial property damage or causing a safety issue, residents can hire a NWCO or contact IDNR to request a removal permit. An animal removal permit is only issued if the IDNR determines that the animal is causing substantial property damage or if there is a public health or safety issue. For example, structural damage to a home caused by raccoons chewing through the roof or property damage from flooding caused by beavers would likely warrant the issuance of a permit. Permits are not likely to be issued to deal with inconveniences such as squirrels raiding feeders, woodpeckers drumming trees, or rabbits foraging in flowerbeds unless substantial damage is being caused. While these situations are understandably frustrating for the homeowner, there are non-lethal methods that can be used to remedy these problems. For tips on preventing problems with wildlife, visit:

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/

To reduce the likelihood that wild animals will be attracted to your home by food and shelter, IDNR offers the following tips:

* Do not encourage wildlife (squirrels, raccoons) by feeding or leaving food for them.

* Don't allow bird food to accumulate on the ground.

* Don't place food scraps in gardens or compost bins.

* Keep pet food and water containers indoors, especially at night.

* If you have fruit trees, harvest or dispose of fruit when it is ripe.

* Use metal or durable plastic trash containers.

* Keep grass and vegetation manicured to limit cover; remove brush piles/debris to eliminate shelter.

To find a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator, visit:

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/professionals.cfm

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