The Burden of Trapping
Unlike traditional pest control that relies on toxicants to kill unwanted animals, cage, box, and other forms of live trapping require wildlife control operators (WCOs) to euthanize or translocate the animals in accordance to state and local laws. Typically, WCOs remove captured animals from the client’s property and place them in the back of the truck and deal with the animal back at the office.
Unfortunately, sometimes a WCO may “forget” about the animal in the back of truck. This is a rare occurrence. And usually if it does happen, the WCO rectifies it the next morning. But sometimes, something disastrous occurs, such as what happened to Christy Clark, a WCO in Rhode Island. According to the news story published by The Westerly Sun on June 28, 2013, http://www.thewesterlysun.com/news/pest-control-franchisee-charged-with-cruelty-to-animals/article_31b79c3c-dffc-11e2-92e2-0019bb2963f4.html Ms. Clark had a cage-trapped raccoon in the back of her truck that was not attended to for 6 days because she had left on a trip and forgot about it. A neighbor, hearing the animal’s scratching etc., notified authorities. Upon their arrival, they found the raccoon dead from thirst/heat. Ms. Clark was charged with animal cruelty.
Distractions Can Cost You
My point is not to wag a finger at Ms. Clark, whom I am confident feels terrible about this situation. Rather I want to emphasize to WCOs the importance of staying focused on the tasks at hand by instituting procedures that help you avoid tragic mistakes like this. Owning and running a business is extremely taxing not only on your body but also on your attention. Customer calls, being tired, thinking about the rest of the day or how much paperwork you have to do or an employee that got a customer angry, etc. can prevent you from following procedure. Break procedure and bad things happen, whether it is forgetting to tie down a ladder, stopping for a red light, or forgetting to remove a raccoon from the back of the truck.
Learn from this tragic event. Recognize that but for the grace of God go you. And lastly, institu
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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te a system to help prevent this from happening to you.