As of 06/01/2014, the Town of Southwick Animal Control Officer(s) can not and will not handle calls for service regarding routine wildlife complaints in or at a residence or business within the borders of the Town.
· Our State laws prohibit the removal or relocation of wildlife. Our Animal Control Officer(s) can dispose of wildlife providing it is suspicious of having rabies and posing a threat to life.
· In the event there is a wildlife issue at a residence or business and it poses a threat to life or danger of serious injury to the public or animals or any situation that is a threat to public safety a Southwick Animal Control Officer will be dispatched to the problem location to assist.
· Our Emergency Tele-Communications Dispatchers will evaluate the information provided by the complainant to establish if an Animal Control Officer will be sent out to assist.
· Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 131, section 37, gives property owners the right to use lawful means to destroy wildlife in the act of causing damage or threatening personal safety. Landowners may only destroy wildlife actually causing damage or posing immediate threats. No one may randomly destroy wildlife simply because it is on their property. It is also illegal for anyone (Including Problem Animal Control agents) to live trap a problem animal and move it or release on other public or private property.
If the property owner cannot resolve a wildlife problem on his or her own, the property owner may contract with a licensed Problem Animal Control Agent (PAC). PAC agents act on behalf of the landowner and are constrained by the same regulations regarding capture, release, transport and euthanasia (e.g. animals captured by PAC agents may not relocate elsewhere). Fees may be charged for PAC services. When a property owner calls on a PAC agent, it is expected that the agent will also provide information and suggestions which prevent future wildlife problems.
PAC licenses are issued to individuals, not to groups or companies. Licensed PAC agents are the only individuals who may work with problem wildlife. PAC agents are not municipal Animal Control Officers, though Animal Control Officers are allowed to have a PAC license. Unless otherwise licensed as PAC agents, municipal Animal Control Officers may not legally handle wildlife unless the animals are sick or injured or present a threat to public health or safety.
· PAC agents may harass, take, and destroy, or may release or liberate on site as stipulated in 321 CMR 2.14 (23) non-domesticated reptiles, birds, and mammals the actions of which have or are endangering the life and health of humans or domestic animals; damaging the property of a person, obstructing the reasonable and comfortable use of property by the owner or tenant thereof or otherwise producing such material annoyance, inconvenience, and discomfort that can reasonably be presumed to result in damage or harm to persons or their property.
· PAC agents may legally handle the following species: skunk, muskrat, raccoon, weasel, red fox, gray fox, porcupine, Norway rat, mice, voles, red, grey and flying squirrel, opossum, chipmunk, rabbit, woodchuck, snapping turtles, moles, pigeon, house sparrow, starling and certain species of bats.
· Coyotes may be handled only by licensed PAC agents who have successfully completed a Massachusetts Wildlife training and certification program specifically pertaining to coyotes.
· It is strongly recommended that you not confront nuisance wildlife and to call a pest control agent to address your problem.
· If you are in need of assistance with nuisance wildlife the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife maintains a vast amount of materials which address various aspects of how to deal with wildlife and the conflicts which may occur. Their website which can be found my going to www.MA.Gov and searching for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. One on the site you will have an opportunity to review topics such as: “Wildlife in Your Home, Yard, or Neighborhood”, “Living with Wildlife”, Preventing Conflicts with Wildlife and “General Tips of Preventing Wildlife Conflicts.” You will also be able to find a list of PAC agents for the Western District.
Thank-you in Advance for your Understanding & Cooperation
Dave Ricardi – Chief of Police