Wildlife Issues

husky.jpgSpecies that interact with our pets

The most common species to cause conflict with our pets are porcupine, raccoon, nutria, bats, coyote, bobcat and cougar.  Conflicts are rare, but they do happen.  Dogs will often try to kill porcupine and nutria, but do not realize that these are tough foes.  Porcupines will leave your dog impaled will dozens of quills that require a veterinarian and anesthesia to remove.  Bats can transmit the rabies virus to your pet if they are bitten by a rabid bat.  These bats, being sick, are found by your pet on the ground.  When your pet tries to kill the bat, your pet may be bitten.  Nutria, raccoons, bobcat, coyote, and cougar can kill dogs due to the severe bite wounds they inflict.  Most wildlife avoids humans and pets, unless it is ill or looking for easy prey.  Your housecat or tiny dog may be easy prey for a hungry coyote or cougar.  It is important never to leave food outside of your home (ie. cat food), since this will attract all kinds of wild animals who are hungry and looking for a free meal.

Dangers of interaction

Aside from fight wounds that can be lethal, some wildlife can carry diseases that can be lethal to your pets (rabies, distemper).  

How to discourage wildlife from your property

Wildlife comes to your home for the food and housing.  They are often just passing through their territory (or looking for new territory), and happen upon something they desire on your property.  This is usually food or a good place to den.
REMOVE FOOD:  The best way to keep wildlife away from your home is to remove ALL sources of food from the area.  Do not feed any of your pets outside (or at least bring the food inside after 1 hour) and keep your garbage in tightly sealed garbage cans that have an interlocking lid.
REMOVE DEN SITES:  Seal off attic and crawlspace access, keep sheds closed, remove slash piles, look for any place on your property that would offer shelter from the elements that could house an animal, and prevent access.  If you have an animal living in one of these places, encourage it to leave (after it has weaned its young) by either calling a wildlife specialist to remove it, or by sealing off the entry once it has exited.  To discourage them from using a space, try placing a rag soaked with amonia in the location.  Wildlife often finds this odor offensive and will leave.
PROTECT PLANTS:  If deer are eating plants in your garden, you may want to invest in deer fencing or netting.  Alternatively, placing a tiny amount of predator scent around the plants may discourage them from the area (but it may also ATTRACT predators!).
MAKE AREA UNFRIENDLY:  Try placing motion lights on the property.  Some nocternal predators will avoid areas where they are visible.

Enjoy wildlife

There are few places left in this country where we can enjoy seeing wildlife such as cougars and bears.  They are dangerous to interact with; however, they are facinating to watch from the safety of our windows.  Keep your pets safe indoors, make your property inhospitable to them, but enjoy watching wildlife pass through your yard.  Not everyone loves wildlife, but we all should respect their ability to "make a living" in an unforgiving world.

There's an animal on the road, what do we do?

Call ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation)! 541-744-8080

Laws

Many laws exist to protect wildlife.  Few people are aware that it is usually ILLEGAL to kill, trap, or relocate most wildlife without a permit (or license).  Exceptions: In Oregon, it is LEGAL to kill certain species of rodents (nutria, mountain beaver, gophers, voles, yellow bellied marmots, rats and mice), moles, badger, opossum, porcupine, skunks, weasels, and coyotes.  It is only legal to kill protected furbearers or dogs without a permit/license if they are in the act of chasing livestock or they are threatening human lives.
There are many reasons for regulations, including the protection of the public, management of wildlife populations, and conservation of threatened or endangered species.  Reasons not to relocate wildlife include: the threat of spreading diseases, the likelihood that the relocated animal will die trying to return to its former territory (they will travel dozens of miles at times to attempt to return, and get hit by cars in the process), current wildlife residents where you relocate the animal will fight with the new animal and you will have caused excessive stress/injury/death to all animals involved.
Only licensed officials should deal with these issues.  Refer to the ODFW Furbearer Laws (ODFW Furbearer Regulations 2006), or contact the agencies listed below for more information:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS): http://www.fws.gov
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW): http://www.dfw.state.or.us

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