Animal care and control agencies are tasked with responding to issues within communities related to companion animals as well as wildlife. But not every agency practices humane treatment of animals, much to the dismay of Animal Control Officers who got into the field because of their love for animals. Transforming your organization into a genuinely humane one, especially when dealing with wildlife, can be achieved through the Humane Society’s Wild Neighbors initiative.
This session’s resource person is Lynsey White from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) where she serves as the Director of Humane Wildlife Conflict Resolution. She heads the Wild Neighbors program where she provides assistance to communities across the US promoting the implementation of humane solutions when dealing with wildlife.
Some of the things Lynsey delved into on this webinar include:
- An HSUS survey that provided insights on common practices of animal care professionals and agencies, and the outcomes of animals they handle.
- Ways that existing policies and procedures practiced by animal care and control agencies impact animals as well as agency resources, staff morale, and the message they send to the public.
- The three-point plan that HSUS’ Wild Neighbors program hope to implement that involves
- Elimination of trap-loan programs
- Enforcing humane solutions for conflicts with wildlife
- Improving Rabies Vector Species policies.
- The importance of having a wildlife policy in ensuring response consistency in congruence with the agency’s humane mission, solving problems by addressing the root cause, and efficient allocation of resources.
- The first objective of the HSUS Wild Neighbors of eliminating trap loan programs.
- Why trapping is the go-to solution despite its inability to truly address the problem.
- How trap loan programs put animals at a disadvantage where animals have a decreased chance of survival whether due to euthanasia, relocation, or being orphaned.
- The costs of trap loan programs in terms of agency resource and inability to solve the root cause of the problem
- The second goal of implementing humane solutions for conflicts with wildlife.
- The comprehensive manual made available to the public to provide information about wildlife and addressing wildlife conflicts.
- Guidelines for agencies to better handle ‘nuisance’ wildlife calls through probing.
- Proper education and empowering the public to address fears, achieve tolerance, and getting to the root of the wildlife problem.
- Dealing with orphaned animals.
- How inhumane practices (as trap loans) leaves orphaned animals.
- The detrimental impact to survival of being orphaned.
- The cost of caring and rehabilitating orphaned animals.
- How to reunite young animals with parents.
- Tips to recognize whether an animal is actually orphaned.
- The third point of the program to revise and improve Rabies Vector Species policies.
- Understanding exposure and how the mere presence of RVS does not warrant euthanasia.
- The ACO’s role in responding to potential exposure, educating the public, and debunking misconceptions.
- The Wild Neighbors Pledge for animal care and control related agencies that support the objectives of the Wild Neighbors program.
- Questions raised during the Q&A were about:
- Health regulations enforcement related to possible exposure to bats.
- The different means to educate the community to live in harmony with wildlife.
- Distinguishing hard release from soft release.
- Why we should not be trapping.
- Ensuring that agencies are practicing humane trapping techniques.
- Training for the people who receive the calls for assistance with wildlife.
- Debunking old wives’ tales about animals.
- “Excellent information that you can use.” — Bob
- “How to approach and handle wild animal situations. I loved seeing the mom’s get their babies.” –Leigh
- “Outstanding presentation. I learned so much. I don’t work in sheltering, but rather, am an academic, and so I had never heard about excluder devices or thought about why live trapping wasn’t necessarily humane. ” –Jen
- “Super excited to see progressive wildlife policies being promoted.” –Michelle
- “Understanding that being too helpful can be harmful to wildlife. The need to respect wildlife.” –Phyllis
This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.