How to Handle Wildlife this Spring

As spring approaches in Northeast Ohio, so does wildlife mating /nesting season.

Animal Control Officer Chuck McCleary's office is starting to get calls in reference to human/wildlife encounters. Please know that most human/wildlife conflicts can be corrected or avoided with some very simple steps from us as humans.

Raccoons and other smaller species of wildlife will be in search of places to have their young.  Although mostly nocturnal, raccoons may be seen out during the day also this time of the year.

Some of the most common types of wildlife conflict we see in the suburbs are animals taking up residence under sheds and decks to nest and protect their young. This can be prevented by animal proofing along all sheds, decks, and window out coves. Below is a link to show a permanent solution to preventing an unwanted nesting critter.

Trapping and removal is only a temporary solution to this issue, animal proofing is the best solution. These animals are territorial and once they are removed out of their territory another raccoon will QUICKLY occupy the existing territory and the conflict is most likely to repeat itself creating a never-ending cycle.

Another reason for conflict are trash cans. Trash cans should have secure lids and kept in a garage or outbuilding if possible. If not, secure lids with bungee cords or whatever necessary to prevent wildlife from getting into them, also place trash cans out the curb for refuse removal service the morning of your scheduled pick up, not the night before, and keep all loose trash cleaned up around your can storage area.

Also, bird feeders are not a good idea and should be taken down if they currently exist on your property. They don’t just attract birds --  they invite every unwanted species of wildlife also, and it is also against our city’s ordinances to feed any wildlife (yes birds included).

   (a)    No person shall keep or harbor any animal or fowl in the Municipality so as to create offensive odors or unsanitary conditions which are a menace to the health, comfort or safety of the public.
   (b)    Any animal which, by barking, biting, howling or in any other way or manner, injures or disturbs the quiet of any person, or destroys or damages any lawn, tree, shrub, plant, building or other property, other than the property of the owner or person in charge or control of such animal, by scratching, digging, running, defecating, urinating or otherwise, is hereby declared to be a nuisance.  No person, being the owner or in charge or control of any animal, shall permit such animal to be or create such nuisance.
   (c)    No person, being the owner or in charge or control of any animal, shall continue to keep or harbor within the City any animal which is or creates a nuisance as described in subsection (b) hereof, unless such animal is confined or otherwise kept under such strict control as to abate the nuisance.
   (d)   No person shall provide food for or feed any stray dog, cat or other wildlife, including but not limited to, birds, water fowl, raccoons, opossums, skunks, rabbits, deer, and coyotes so as to create an unsanitary condition; cause inconvenience, discomfort, or damage to another; or endanger the comfort, repose, health, or safety of others; or in any way render other persons insecure in life or in the use of their property.
   (e)    Whoever violates any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor on a first offense and of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree on each subsequent offense.  Punishment shall be as provided in Section 698.02.
(Ord. 2008-202.  Passed 9-15-08.)
As for animals on roofs and in chimneys: all trees and shrubs should be cut back away from your rooflines a minimum of 10 feet to prevent unwanted guests on your roof.  Chimney caps should be in place on all chimneys and roof vents to prevent animals from going in them, and should be checked routinely to ensure they are still operational and secured properly.

Yards being dug up by raccoons and skunks can be prevented if the proper grub/insect preventatives are applied at the proper times of the year. If applied too early or too late, the chances of this being an issue is multiplied drastically.

Prevention, prevention, prevention…….. It’s the answer and it’s a very easy habit for homeowners to get in the practice of doing. Nuisance wildlife trapping should be a last resort and must be approved by the animal control office before implementing. It is state law that wildlife trapped under nuisance situations are euthanized (and in very few cases may be necessary).  Remember that these animals are territorial and if they are removed from their territory another one will quickly move into the attractive vacant territory and the cycle will just start over again until the real source of the issue is corrected, which is not providing them with the resources that attract them to our homes.
The City of Strongsville Animal Control Office hopes this information is helpful. if you have any further questions please contact Animal Control Officer Chuck McCleary at 440-580-3180, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.