What You Should Know About Trapping Animals

What You Should Know About Trapping Animals
Posted on 05/31/2016

By CHPD Assistant Chief Paul Brenneman

It is that time of the year when we all start to live outside again. We get reacquainted with yards, neighbors and our community. We start to see animals we don’t recognize or find evidence that those same animals have been around doing what animals do. Some cause damage while others leave us unexpected surprises on our lawns. Some animals give us pause and concern for our safety. It is definitely a time to pay attention and take action.

In a sister city recently, someone took action, just not the right kind. A small cat was found with a severely damaged paw caused by a steel-jawed trap.  The injury was so severe that the kitten had to be euthanized. It's a trap that's legal in some places but illegal to use in the city. Any trap used in the city must be of the “live trap,” no-kill variety. City ordinance 8.32.090 makes it illegal to use these traps in Cottonwood Heights without the proper permission. The city also has ordinances which make it unlawful to physically abuse or poison an animal. 

Nuisance animals by definition cause us concern and even angst. What we need to remember is they are animals and enjoy some protection under the law. There are remedies which can alleviate issues with unwanted, nuisance animals which may frequent our yards.

If you have a stray cat, dog or other domesticated animal, you can call our department for assistance. Prior to making that call, you may want to take a picture of the animal and circulate it throughout the neighborhood. We frequently find these animals escaped from a nearby residence and are easily reunited with the missing owner. If you prefer not to try and locate the missing owner, we have animal control officers who will respond and work with you to solve the problem. Animal control officers may place a “live trap” in your yard to catch and remove that animal. If the nuisance animal is of the wild variety, do not try and remove it yourself.

The city participates in an urban wildlife trapping program. If a citizen has a raccoon or skunk issue, they can contact animal control via dispatch at 801-840-4000. Participants will get a trap on loan, a safety briefing and explanation on trap usage.

Wild snakes present a unique public safety issue. As the weather warms, snake sightings. increase. The upper east side of Cottonwood Heights is prime rattlesnake habitat. These critters can be dangerous if we do something to provoke them. Other varieties of snakes are valuable members of the ecosystem and help to keep vermin in check. Should you encounter a rattlesnake, call the police department at 801-840-4000. We will respond. While you await the arrival of the officer, try to maintain sight of the snake if you can safely do so. Our officers hate playing hide and seek with a snake if they can avoid it. Rattlesnakes are the only poisonous snake indigenous to our area. Please avoid killing rattlesnakes. They are a protected species.