DC Council Votes for More Humane Treatment of Wildlife

The council of the District of Columbia, on November 9, 2010, unanimously passed the Wildlife Protection Act (B18- 498), which imposes humane treatment standards upon nuisance animal control operators who work to remove wildlife from residential and commercial settings within city limits. Sponsored by DC Councilmember Mary Cheh and backed by AWI, the Wildlife Protection Act prohibits the use of leghold traps, body-gripping traps, glue traps and snares to capture wildlife, as well as the use of toxicants against certain species of birds. The legislation also requires that nuisance wildlife control operators (who must be trained and licensed) use every reasonable effort to keep family units together when trapping, and take animals injured in traps to rehabilitation centers. While the Wildlife Protection Act does have some deficiencies in that it does not apply to actions taken directly by property owners, it is definitely a step in the right direction. Once signed by the mayor, this new law is expected to take effect sometime in 2011.