City's Wildlife Trapping Program temporarily halted

For numerous years the City has budgeted for and operated a wildlife animal trapping program at no cost to residents.  Residents pick up traps at the Public Works Service Center and set them on their property.  When an animal is caught in the trap, the residents call City personnel, who in turn notify the City’s wildlife control contractor (licensed by the State of Illinois) to remove the trap and animal.  By law, all captured skunks in Illinois must be euthanized.  Captured raccoons are also euthanized.  Once the trap has been emptied by the City’s contractor, it is returned to the resident, who returns it to the Public Works Service Center.   At most times of the year, there is a waiting list to receive a trap.

     Recently the number of trapped animals removed by the City’s contractor, ABC Humane Wildlife Control & Prevention, has dramatically increased.  In 2014, the City paid for the trapping and removal of 103 animals.  In 2015, the number increased to 122, and in 2016, 138.   This year, 2017, the number has increased dramatically to 204 and that was only through mid-September.     

     As a consequence of the increased number of animals trapped and removed, the budget for animal control has been quickly exhausted.  For the current fiscal year the Community Preservation and Development Department requested and received a total of $13,000 for animal control:  $10,000 for the trapping program; $2,000 for rodent control; and $1,000 for miscellaneous costs such replacement of traps.  Through mid-September—five months into the fiscal year—the City had spent $9,970 on the trapping program, thus hitting the budgeted limit.  By comparison, the City spent only $7,820 on the trapping program for the entire twelve months of 2016 and only $8,355 for the entire twelve months of 2015. 

     As spending on animal control was approaching its budgetary limit in mid-September, the City halted the trapping program.  Those residents already on the waiting list are being allowed to take a trap and have a trapped animal removed at City expense.  However, at present no new names are being added to the waiting list. 

     The City Council will review a request to increase the budget line item for animal control at its Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, October 24.  If favorably reviewed, the request for the budget line increase will move to the first City Council meeting in November for final approval.  Once additional funding is approved, the program will resume.  Also, City staff is considering some modifications to the program that would limit the frequency residents could request a trap.

     The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the University of Illinois Extension have developed a website in order to provide residents of Illinois with information about how to coexist with wildlife, especially in urban areas.  The website states:  Preventing problems with wildlife is much simpler and less aggravating than dealing with the problems after they occur. Fortunately, taking a few simple steps can help you prevent many of the most common wildlife-related problems around your home. A number of proven methods can be used to solve the problem when it cannot be prevented.

     Residents may call nuisance wildlife control operators to have animals trapped and removed at their own expense.  The website also provides contact information for licensed operators in the region.

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