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Posted at 6:29 PM ET, 11/15/2010

Snap-trap ban puts pest companies in a bind

By Gene Harrington, Fairfax

Last week, the D.C. Council granted final approval to legislation banning professional pest-management companies from using snap traps to control many rodent species, making it the most extreme, overreaching, unreasonable and restrictive wildlife-management measure in the entire country.

The bill’s proponents claim that the legislation does not cover mice and rats. That is only partially true, however; the bill’s definition of wildlife expressly exempts commensal rodents — the house mouse and Norway and roof rats. The bill covers all other rodents, such as deer mice, field mice and chipmunks, but under the legislation the use of a snap trap by a professional pest management company to control such rodent species is illegal.

Moreover, the legislation creates a liability for companies using a snap trap to capture a house mouse or Norway rat, because the company might not know the exact rodent infesting a person’s home or business when it sets out traps. It could capture a field mouse, deer mouse or chipmunk.

Despite statements to the contrary, the Wildlife Protection Act will indeed hinder rodent control in the District and is likely to lead to a larger, more unmanageable rodent population.

The writer is director of government affairs for the National Pest Management Association.

By Gene Harrington, Fairfax  | November 15, 2010; 6:29 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, environment, wildlife  
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I never thought I would see the Bambi syndrome extended to rats.

Posted by: potaboc | November 15, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I think the exterminators should bring all the poor, darling, wee rodents to Mary Cheh's house, since she was the moron behind this idiotic law. Let her spend her time conducting family reunions for rats, rather than trying to run everybody's personal lives.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | November 16, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I agree. Let's roudn them all up, dead or alive and drop them at Mary's place. I think this was a crazy bill, where we should have spent more time on other pressing issues facing DC. BTW what average person know the difference between a deer, field or the house mouse? Don't get me started on the RATS! Please!

Posted by: bdaneker | November 16, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I agree. Let's round them all up, dead or alive and drop them at Mary's place. I think this was a crazy bill! We should have spent more time on other pressing issues facing DC instead of a bill such as this one! BTW what average person knows the difference between a deer, field or the house mouse? Don't get me started on the differnece between Norway RATS and other RATS! Please!

Posted by: bdaneker | November 16, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

This is a common sense law that only bans the most cruel ways of killing wildlife. Homeowners and pest control companies still have available to them literally hundreds of methods of killing or removing wildlife. The pest management industry should be ashamed to oppose a law like this. That position really makes it seem like the pest control industry is just in favor of cruelty for its own sake.

Posted by: VirginiaDad | November 16, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Industries always whine when they just can't do it their way. Focusing on rodents is a red herring. Treating other living things in a humane manner is suppossedly what sets us apart from the "animals."

Posted by: jckdoors | November 16, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

This is the most fuzzy-headed legislation I've heard of in a while. Native species of rodents also spread disease. Most notably, the Deer Mouse. What do they expect people to do? Just allow deer mice to live with them and spread Hantavirus? I'm all for conserving native creatures, but not when doing so needlessly threatens the lives of people.

Posted by: hdcase | November 16, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree. Everyone should bring rodents to Mary's house, release them outside, and let Cheh sort them out at her leisure.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | November 16, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

This is a solution in search of a problem. Cheh is part of the Animal Welfare Project and the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) wrote this rediculous Bill and she shoved it through. Its laughable. Also Trap Spay and Release for cats is cruel and does not work. No one will follow this, no one will enforce and no one will fund. Its a Junk Bill... Now go do some real work for DC and stop listening to HSUS!

Posted by: stablehand | November 16, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse


Trap/Neuter/Release has worked quite well in my experience, but if it's actually not in the best interest of cats, I definitely want to know the downsides and alternatives. Do you have a source where I can read further about why you consider it cruel and unworkable? Thanks!

Posted by: DOEJN | November 16, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

@virginiadad - I hope you really don't have children. i can imagine them growing up to be good little tree-hugging, group-think little dimwits like their father.

Posted by: madmike272 | November 16, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

DOEJN, Thanks for asking. I would check on google at "problems with spay and release of cats". Many youtube videos. Also scientific papers. Also The Wildlife Society web page and American Bird Conservancy has good scientific information. I have a cat so am not a cat basher, they are awesome but it is cruel to the cat and just makes us feel good. I say this for other and dont mean to be offensive, but why not spay and release dogs, monkeys, pet horses etc. It is just wrong for them and the wildlife. Best Wishes.

Posted by: stablehand | November 17, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. I had not been aware of the controversy. Now I've started reading on both sides on the issue. I'm finding that the animal welfare organizations such as the Humane Society consistently advocate TNR.

In my experience, TNR has worked well for semi-feral cats (two at a time, not a large colony). Their primary human caregiver would absolutely be willing to be designated as their legal owner and provides for their needs to the best of her abilities with the help of experts. I'm not sure what better alternative there would be for these two particular cats. They are basically pets who happen to live outside, and they are very loved. Yes, I realize this is not the case for all feral or semi-feral cats.

Anyway, these comments have strayed (no pun intended :-p ) from the topic of mousetraps. Thanks for the information.

Posted by: DOEJN | November 17, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I voted against and will continue to vote against Mary Cheh strictly based on this law and her asinine overreach. What an idiotic law.

Posted by: mjwies11 | November 18, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

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