A new law in the District of Columbia is making surrounding lawyers and legislatures scream. That’s because the Wildlife Protection Act of 2010 may help rodent families to be relocated across the Potomac River – to Virginia and Maryland.
Rats Occupy DC?
The new law states “c) Traps used by a wildlife control services provider shall be set in a manner designed to catch the target animal and in the manner likely to avoid capture of and harm to non-target animals. (d) Wildlife shall be captured, handled, and, when permissible, transported, in a manner to ensure against causing unnecessary discomfort, behavioral stress, or physical harm to the animal, including providing protections against weather extremes…”
As a result of these changes, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said that he is worried that this new law will influence surrounding states, like his. As he said,
“So we have real concerns about this ridiculous–ridiculous!–law and we’ve been pretty genial about dealing with D.C. on it. But when you see an article like the ‘Rats Occupy Occupy DC,’ it points up the problem that we’re going to have in Virginia because of that–and because D.C’s really outrageous–outrageous!–treatment of these varmints who, for those who don’t remember their history, carried things like bubonic plague. I mean, these are true vermin.”
Agressive Squirrels and Beyond
One example of the issues the new law brings, for instance, is with the squirrel population that will be left after the Occupy DC protestors finally pack up and leave. These squirrels are, undoubtedly, much more aggressive after living among humans for so long. With the new Wildlife Protection Act, the only legal way to manage these pest is to live-trap them. Gene Harrington, the governmental affairs director for the National Pest Management Association said, “Also, keep in mind that a pest management professional’s use of snap traps at the Occupy DC camps to control the rats comes with its own legal pitfalls because squirrels or chipmunks could be attracted to the same peanut butter put out for the (Norway) rats.”
The law went into effect in March 2011 but has really had an impact with the Occupy DC crowd and its aftermath. As Cuccinelli told CNSNews.com, “I found out about it because our pest control people in Virginia were very concerned …. [A]nd I’ll tell you, the order of required dealing with these rats, raccoons, and various vermin of all types is you are now only allowed to trap them alive. No more glue traps. No more crushing traps. No more snap traps. Nothing like that. Now remember, these are mice, rats, raccoons, vermin.”