Feral Cats And Wild Dogs: Are You Legally Allowed To Exterminate Them?

If your garbage is regularly rummaged by feral cats or ransacked by wild dogs, you may have reached the point where you want to permanently eliminate the problem. The question is: Can you legally exterminate dogs and cats that are running loose in your neighborhood, and if so, how? In most parts of the country, pest control experts and exterminators may be the best source of information for this, but if you cannot find someone with the answers to your wild animal questions, the following should help.

Extermination as a Means of Control for Cats and Dogs

Rarely, if ever, is extermination used to control feral cats and wild dogs. It is only when these animals attack people or cause injuries to humans are they in danger of being put to sleep. Even then, pest control experts or animal rescue officers set safe traps to catch these animals before removing them to a shelter where they will be tested for rabies and/or put to sleep.

Why You Cannot Exterminate Cats and Dogs

The National Humane Society controls most of what happens to animals that could be pets or could be managed in other ways. The shelters' many professional volunteers across the U.S. are the only ones trained to decide if an animal is truly feral/wild or just a stray that used to be somebody's pet. If the animal can be retrained and redomesticated, it becomes an adoptable pet waiting in a shelter. If it cannot, your nearest shelter can and will determine if the animal can be managed through a catch-neuter/spay-release program. If these animals are too numerous for the local eco-system to support them and that is why they are ransacking your garbage for food, then the shelters may choose which animals they will humanely put to sleep and which ones they will re-release into the wild (if they are unadoptable).

Additionally it is a crime to kill animals when you are not licensed to do so. While an exterminator may also put wildlife animals down legally, dogs and cats are frequently not included in an exterminator's list of allowed animals.

How to Control the Problem

If you really need help with your feral cat or wild dog problem, a pest control expert like Cavanaugh's Professional Termite & Pest Services may provide you with live traps for cats. These traps are set with food for bait and then camouflaged to mask the scent of humans so that cats will be willing to enter them and get caught. Animal control officers may also be of some help, but they are more helpful when you need to get wild dogs out of your yard. The animal control officers can bring noose catchers and dart guns. In case the dogs turn violent or become aggressive, the dart guns will tranquilize the animals and make them safer to catch and transport.