Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Virginia Closes Borders to Proposed DC Raccoon Relocations

From the "they can't make this stuff up" department, this item from the Washington Examiner today:
Virginia won't accept the District's unwanted raccoons, opossums and other "nuisance" critters, calling into question key components of a D.C. Council bill designed to make life easier for pesky animals.

The legislation introduced by Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh sets new standards for the treatment of wild animals by the professionals hired to boot the critters out of homes received tentative approval from the full council last month. The new law would limit the tools wildlife managers can use to kill the beasts. In many cases it requires the animals to be kept alive and relocated "to safe location where nuisance problems are unlikely to occur."

But "since relatively few areas within the District of Columbia are likely to meet this definition, we are concerned that wildlife control operators may be inclined to transport the nuisance wildlife into Virginia for release," Robert Ellis, deputy director of the commonwealth's Bureau of Wildlife Resources, wrote this week in a letter addressed to Council Chairman Vince Gray.

If wildlife managers want to transport their catches across the Potomac River, they'll have to get special permission from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Ellis told The Washington Examiner that they won't receive permission.

"We really see no reason for them to bring these animals here," Ellis said. "We have our own nuisance animals, more than we can handle."

The term "nuisance animal" covers every animal imaginable, Ellis said, and it's simply illegal for any wild animal to be transported across state lines without permission.

Ellis said he sent the letter because "we wanted to make sure [the Council] is aware that Virginia won't be able to accept these animals."

In the letter Ellis suggested the Council adopt language specifically prohibiting exporting captured animals outside of the District, have the District Department of Environment clearly inform wildlife managers that transporting the animals across state lines is illegal.

Cheh did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon...