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Archive for the ‘Animal Control’ Category

Chicago Area Experiences Problems as Wildlife Flourishes in Less-Than-Wild Places

Posted by animalcontrol on February 19, 2010

The following Illinois Department of Natural Resources article is from 2004, yet I expect that the situation has not changed very much.  For wildlife removal from your home or property, please call United Wildlife at 1-888-488-1415.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. — Conservation programs that succeeded in restoring white-tailed deer, Canada geese, beavers, and other animals are facing a new challenge as wildlife flourish in places that are less than wild.

In a survey of homeowners from 10 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, 61 percent reported problems with wildlife during the past year. If their experiences are typical, damage in the United States’ largest cities approaches $3.8 billion annually despite an outlay of $1.9 billion to prevent it.

Chicago’s metro area fits this profile. Dr. Craig Miller, a human dimensions specialist formerly with the Illinois Natural History Survey, found as part of a survey he conducted that 58 percent of homeowners in five Northeastern Illinois counties had experienced wildlife problems in the past year. Canada geese, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, and skunks topped the list of culprits.

Problems serviced by animal control agencies and businesses licensed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have more than doubled in the past decade according to Bob Bluett, wildlife diversity program manager for the agency. Last year, animal control professionals in the Chicago metro area responded to more than 65,000 service calls and captured more than 60,000 animals.

Raccoons topped the list. “They’re abundant and resourceful when it comes to finding a way into peoples’ homes,” says Bluett.

He estimates that the state’s raccoon population more than doubled between the early 1980s and mid-1990s. Bluett noted, “Hunting and trapping kept them in check when fur coats were popular during the late 1970s. Numbers boomed when the market went bust about a decade later.” Markets in Russia and Asia have picked up some of the slack in recent years, with a corresponding drop of about 25 percent since Illinois’ raccoon population peaked in 1996.

Raccoons are more common in the Chicago metro area than any other part of the state. Landscape changes have helped increase raccoon numbers, because years ago, green spaces, fields and woods separated towns. Trappers and hunters harvested raccoons in those wild in-between spots and kept raccoons in check. “Today, many cities run together. Those in-between wild spaces are strip malls and fast food restaurants,” says Bluett. “It is difficult to hunt and trap raccoons in ways that reduce urban populations.” Also, state laws require them to obtain permission from both landowners and people living nearby before hunting or trapping wildlife. This can be difficult to obtain.

Some trappers have parlayed their skills into lucrative animal removal businesses that operate under a different set of restrictions than their counterparts. “This activity is highly regulated, just like traditional hunting and trapping. The main difference is that we’ve built in accountability to the client and made some adjustments for working in residential areas,” says Bluett.

Studies by Dr. Stan Gehrt, an Ohio State University research biologist, show that suburban raccoons have few worries except dodging traffic. “Food and shelter are so plentiful that many survive bouts with diseases,” says Gehrt.

A study by Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation of suburban Dundee found that few raccoons captured by wildlife control specialists and released in area forest preserves decided to stay there. “Most left within two to three weeks and some were recaptured in nearby homes,” says Bluett. Gehrt’s studies confirm that raccoons raised in forest preserves tend to stay there. Those raised in attics and chimneys seem to prefer residential areas.

State laws were changed in 1999 to limit relocation of raccoons. Bluett noted, “Studies supported our concerns about making one person’s solution another person’s problem. They also suggested transporting animals could help spread diseases that can infect people, pets and other wildlife. Besides that, where do you go with 17,000 raccoons in one of the country’s most urban landscapes?”

Fewer than 10 percent of raccoons captured by wildlife control specialists are released — either on the same property or after being transported to a licensed veterinarian with a permit to rehabilitate wildlife. The rest are killed using methods allowed by state law.

Bluett notes that removing raccoons is not a viable solution unless food sources are eliminated and entry points are sealed to keep others from moving in.

DNR advises homeowners:

  • Do not encourage raccoons by feeding them
  • Keep pet food and watering dishes indoors, especially at night
  • Keep trash containers in your garage until pick-up day. Containers stored outside should be made of metal or durable plastic and kept upright in a frame; secure lids with elastic shock cords available at most hardware stores
  • Use bird feeders equipped with gravity-operated treadles to prevent access by squirrels and raccoons. Do not allow spillage to accumulate. If necessary, switch to niger (thistle), safflower, or other bird foods less attractive to mammals
  • Install commercial chimney caps before animals move in
  • Install hardware cloth (½ x ½-inch mesh) inside attic vent and fan openings
  • Repair broken, weak, or rotted areas on your roof, soffit and fascia
  • Trim tree branches that provide squirrels and raccoons easy access to your roof
  • Before hiring an animal control specialist, verify they have a valid permit issued by DNR

For more information on raccoons or controlling nuisance wildlife in Illinois, contact Illinois DNR at 217-782-6384. Learn more about raccoons by visiting the Fur Hunting and Trapping in Illinois website at dnr.state.il.us/orc/wildlife.

The brochures “Keeping Wildlife Out of Your Home” and “Nuisance Raccoons in Urban Settings” are available from the DNR Clearinghouse at dnr.clearing@illinois.gov.

Information on nuisance wildlife control also is available at the Center for Wildlife Damage Management at http://www.wildlifedamage.unl.edu/. Landowners should check state regulations before proceeding; some methods recommended by the Center for Wildlife Management, while legal in some states, are not legal in Illinois.

Posted in Animal Control, Animal Removal, raccoon control, skunk control, squirrel control, Wildlife Control, Wildlife Removal | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pesticide Poison Kills 2 Little Girls in Utah

Posted by animalcontrol on February 10, 2010

This article is about a tragic accident involving Fumitoxin, a fumigant used to kill pests such as voles.  The wrong combination of climate, moisture, and air pressure can force the toxin into places it shouldn’t go.  Like skunk odor, it can be pushed down or up with air flow.  In this case, it appears that the toxin was pushed into the home through cracks in the foundation or window wells or pipes or some other location, resulting in two deaths.

Family loses 2nd child in suspected pesticide poisoning

February 9th, 2010 @ 9:40pm

LAYTON — Three days after 4-year-old Rebecca Toone, of Layton, died from apparent exposure to a pesticide, her 15-month-old sister, Rachel, passed away. Both girls died after having similar symptoms just days after their home was treated to get rid of rodents.

Family heartbroken over loss of two daughters

“Heartbroken” is the word the Toone family used to describe their feelings Tuesday night. Rachel died despite what the family calls “heroic efforts to save her life following heart failure early Monday morning.

In a statement , the Toone family said: “We are heartbroken as we and our two older children mourn Rachel’s passing and that of her sister Rebecca, who died Saturday, February 6th. Their funeral will be held in the next few days, and we request the opportunity to quietly celebrate their lives with our friends and family at that time.”

The parents, Brenda and Nathan, along with two older siblings are mourning the loss of Rachel and Rebecca.

“They’re a great family, really great family. It’s really sad that this had to happen to them, because they’re just great,” said neighbor Jerry Lynn Smith.

Investigation hints at chemical application error

Both deaths come after a carbon-monoxide scare, followed by a realization that the problem most likely stemmed from toxic extermination pellets.

The family hired Bugman Pest and Lawn to treat their vole infestation on Friday. A Bugman technician used the chemical Fumitoxin in burrows around the Toone’s home.

The Fumitoxin applicator’s manual states that the pellets are not to be used within 15 feet of any building being occupied by people or animals, especially homes. But Lt. Col. Tyler Smith, of the Utah National Guard’s 85th Civil Support Team, says his team found remnants of the 1 and 1/2 pounds of the chemical, which translates into roughly 800 pellets, that was placed along the driveway and porch, coming within 3 feet of the garage door and about 7 feet of the front door.

According to Layton Fire Chief Kevin Ward, the pellets used mixed with water to release deadly phosphine gas. It apparently migrated from the soil into the home.

“There are some cracks in the foundation in the garage area. That’s where we suspect it had probably entered into the home in there. But we haven’t quite determined, we were unable to determine exactly where it went in,” Ward said.

Bugman has had problems with record keeping in the past

Related:

Extermination company defends technician, says manual is not law
According to the Fumitoxin manual, the chemical shouldn’t be used closer than 15 feet from any home or building; investigators detected it at 3 feet from the garage and 7 feet from the home. Still, the owner of the pest control company who deposited the chemical says the manual isn’t the law.

Exactly how many Fumitoxin pellets, and how many burrows they were placed, in isn’t known because the company president says the technician didn’t properly document it.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food says it has warned Bugman about bad record keeping in the past — leaving out important information in reports.

“[There’s] a list of a number of things they have to keep track of, and we did have that problem with them a couple of years ago,” said Clark Burgess, pesticide program manager for the Department of Agriculture.

Records indicate that both Bugman and the technician, Cole Nocks, have up-to-date licenses, which expire at the end of this year. Now, with two children dead, police have to figure out their next move. They say the district attorney’s office will likely be involved at some point in the discussion.

Lt. Quinn Moyes, of the Layton City Police Department, said, “Right now it’s a death investigation. We don’t know, and a decision hasn’t been made, whether there’s criminal charges or not. So right now it’s a death investigation.”

But Moyes did say there’s a potential for criminal charges in the future.

“Again, that has not been determined, but that’s a possibility,” he said.

Toone home declared safe; no word on when family will return

As for the Toone family’s home, hazmat crews have determined it is safe once again.

Crews dug up contaminated soil in the Toones’ lawn Monday and mixed it with water to get rid of the chemical they believe led to the tragedy.

The Toone family’s Layton home was declared safe by hazmat crews Tuesday

“We did excavate the area where the material had been placed, the area where the exterminator told us the material had been placed,” Ward said. “Our hazmat team took all the dirt from around that area to where they could see there was some residual from the pellets. So once we got all that out, we flooded the area with water because water helps it dissipate a lot quicker.”

They took readings Tuesday morning after letting the furnace operate normally overnight. No more traces of the gas turned up. Authorities say there’s no threat to the neighborhood or to the Toone family if they choose to return home.

We don’t know the family’s intentions. They’ve chosen to be very private in their grief and have asked to be left alone. The only family member we’ve seen was the little girls’ uncle. He briefly stopped at the home and then moved on without comment.

——

Story compiled with contributions from Nicole Gonzales, John Hollenhorst, Shara Park and Andrew Adams.

Posted in Animal Control, Rodent Problems, Vole Control, Wildlife Control, Wildlife Removal | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bat Season in New York

Posted by animalcontrol on September 16, 2009

Do-it-yourself bat control frequently ends in disaster.  Hire a wildlife control operator with experience handling bats.

Sometimes people balk at paying a professional for something that is "so easy", such as bat control. However, do-it-yourself bat control frequently ends in disaster.

It is bat season in New York!  No, I am not talking a hunting season or even a sport season (after all, baseball is winding down), but the best time of the year to perform bat control and prevent future problems.  It is common for bats in New York to establish residence in homes and businesses.  Some of these animals migrate, but some seek winter hibernation sites that could include your place. 

Early on in infestations it can be difficult to know if there is a colony in your building.  If you see the animals flying around outside your building regularly, say, more than 2-3 times in a year, you may be hosting a colony.  If you begin to notice an unusual odor in your building, similar to gerbils, you may want to check further.  If you find guano along the walls of your building or staining from urine on exterior walls, it could indicate an access point for the animals.  

You may want to perform a careful watch for a few evenings near dusk and determine if they are living in your home.  If you see the animals enter or exit or even suddenly disappear in the vicinity of your home, it is time to seek professional bat control. 

When you read about bat control on the internet, and there are plenty of sites that will offer advice, it sounds pretty simple:  get them out, block up the holes.  But, it is much harder to put into practice.  Bat control requires special equipment and knowledge that comes from years of experience. Beware of the various sonic or mechanical repellents that claim to get rid of bats.  They generally do not work. 

I know of a homeowner that discovered a bat problem.  She consulted with a bat control professional but was reluctant to pay a fee for something that is “so easy.”  She decided to do it herself and ended up killing nursing mother bats and having starving babies crying and squeaking and dying all over her attic.  What a mess!  What a fine!  It is illegal to kill these species in New York and she now had two big problems on her hands: a legal problem to be sure, but the physical mess of the dead and dying animals was also formidable.  It would have been so much easier to get the right kind of help.  Bat control can happen quickly when it is done right, but it is not exactly easy—bat control professionals just make it look that way so you can breathe easier yourself.

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UPDATE: Feral Cats near Salt Lake City, UT

Posted by animalcontrol on September 8, 2009

sdfsdf

Professional wildlife control operators know how to legally and humanely capture and transport furious, fightened wild cats.

Feral cats continue to be a concern in Ogden, Utah, about one hour north of Salt Lake City, Utah.  I wrote a few weeks ago that the issue was debated, but tabled, by the city council.  Now, they have again discussed and tabled the issue.  Read the original news report here. 

This incident from a single city reflects our nationwide difficulty in getting rid of feral cats.  There are so many of these pitiful, abandoned creatures, and it is such an emotional issue to decide what to do with them.  As the article suggests, trapping feral cats and taking them to a shelter may be the only solution that provides humane treatment to the animals while respecting personal property and preferences and the rights of neighbors to live in peace and free of mess, stink, noise and disease. 

The article mentions that one wishing to get rid of feral cats can rent a trap from the city or county in which they live.  This is sometimes true, but the article does not give tips on how to catch momma cats with their kittens or, indeed, how to safely transport the furious, frightened wild animals to your local shelter.  It does not give suggestions on the removal of an entire colony or how to prevent future feral infestations.  

The animals cannot be relocated, or dumped, on a farm outside of town.  It is usually illegal to get rid of feral cats in this way, as well as unfair to the owners of the property where you dump them and dangerous for the animals, too.  They will have to fight for territory and food, if there is any.  A very high percentage of relocated animals die of injury, disease or starvation. Local animal shelters give the animals their best chance.  

If you really want to get rid of feral cats, consider professional trapping services.  It is much easier on you, but it is also much easier on the animals.  Professionals understand trap placement and proper and legal animal removal and transportation. 

I am sure this isn’t the last word on this subject.  The problem of feral cats and how to get rid of them is growing and will be with us for a long time. 

Spay or Neuter your pets!

Nationwide Feral Cat Control: 1-888-488-1415

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Feral Cat Fracas in Ogden, Utah

Posted by animalcontrol on August 27, 2009

cat

Who wants to get rid of feral cats? Nearly everyone, but for different reasons.

Ogden, Utah, located about one hour north of Salt Lake City, Utah, is struggling with its feral cat population.  This debate recently made headlines as city leaders, animal lovers and property owners tried to reach an agreement on the serious problem of feral cats. 

Who wants to get rid of feral cats?  Nearly everyone, but for different reasons.  Animal lovers hate to see the animals suffer and die from disease and starvation.  Bird lovers want to give the feathered friends a chance.  Property owners are fed up with cat invasions.  This doesn’t mean that anyone hates the cats, there are just too many of them and they continue to multiply. 

Why do people want to get rid of feral cats?  Feral cats tend to group together in colonies for survival.  The animals spread diseases, can decimate the local bird populations and mess up property such as gardens and flower beds. 

How to get rid of feral cats?  It is such a difficult subject, and one that becomes more serious by the year.  Some estimates suggest that there are more feral cats than owned feline pets in the United States—as many as 60-100 MILLION of them.  While Trap-Neuter-Release programs do give some long term hope, these programs have been in effect for approximately 30 years and the feral population has grown during that time. 

The only immediate solution is to trap the animals and take them to an animal shelter.  That is what I do.  The animals are treated humanely.  If they are healthy and homes can be found for them, they are adopted out.  If not, euthanasia spares them a slow, suffering death.  It is not a cheerful subject.  It is not something I like doing, but someone has to do it and it is for the best for everyone involved.  Particularly if there are kittens involved, the sooner the animals are trapped and taken for appropriate care the better chance that they do not have a disease and can be tamed in preparation for a life as a well-loved pet. 

Why not relocation?  That just makes it someone else’s problem.  If you didn’t want the cats what makes you think that someone else will feel differently about the animals. 

Ogden didn’t come to a decision, but you can make a decision for yourself.  Spay or neuter your pets.  Encourage others to do the same.  And, if it is ever needed, hire a feral cat removal professional who knows how to get rid of feral cats on your property.

Feral Cat Trapping and Removal.  Nationwide call 1-888-488-1415

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Beaver Damage

Posted by animalcontrol on August 6, 2009

F Minus
This comic by F-minus is a great illustration of the anger people feel over beaver damage and the lengths they will go to try to solve the problem.  I don’t know of anyone who has actually chained themselves to a tree, but waiting up all night isn’t unusual.  Actually, it is pretty easy to wait up all night when you are so worried about the beaver damage you will find in the morning that you CAN NOT sleep. 

And, since the “chain yourself to a tree” thing was practically invented by environmentalists, this comic illustrates a very real dilemma faced by many people who encounter beaver problems and beaver damage on their property. Do you save the trees?  Do you save the beavers?  What about when the animals’ activity floods your home?  Washes out bridges?  How far do you go?  

I can’t answer the question for each one of you, but I can tell you this.  I wouldn’t let a human vandal chop down my trees and shred the bushes.  Why would I let an animal vandal do the same thing?  Beaver damage can cost thousands of dollars and damage the habitat of other living things.  Who takes care of the birds that no longer have trees to nest in?  What about the trees themselves?  

It is OK to address beaver damage and work to get rid of the beavers.  You don’t have to let them destroy things, nor do you have to sacrifice yourself in the process.  Hire a professional beaver trapper who will get rid of the beavers on your property and prevent further beaver damage from destroying what you have worked to create, not to mention your peace of mind.

Nationwide Beaver Trapping Services: 1-888-488-1415

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Armadillos Design Golf Course in Dallas, Texas

Posted by animalcontrol on July 8, 2009

armadillo

Armadillos move a lot of dirt, destroying golf courses and landscaping. Trapping armadillos is th most effective way to get rid of them.

I am a golf course superintendent in the Dallas, Texas area and I need to get rid of armadillos.  They are ruining my golf course.  I don’t mind a tricky course with sand traps and such, but these guys are creating craters!  Where they don’t belong!

Armadillos aren’t all that big, and they move slowly every time I see them, but, man, can they move a lot of dirt.  They dig huge holes in the course, turning over sod and scraping dirt away. 

A couple of years ago my friend had armadillos in her flower beds and she got really upset and wanted to get rid of the armadillos. I am afraid I wasn’t very kind.  I didn’t see then what the big deal was.  After all, it was just a little-old critter.  Why was she so wound up about it?

What a nuisance.  I am concerned that someone will fall in the holes they leave.  Each morning I drive around and find freshly turned dirt.  It is impossible to keep the course looking like it should.  Now I need to learn how to get rid of armadillos.

They don’t scare.  Nothing really seems to repel them—urine, peppers, noise makers.  I read somewhere that fencing is good, but I can’t fence an entire golf course.  Besides, I’m sure they are living around here somewhere and I would probably fence them in, forcing them to live on the course.

What to do?  There has got to be a way to get rid of the armadillos so I can get my course back into play.

Nationwide Armadillo Control Services: 1-888-488-1415

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Gopher Golf in California

Posted by animalcontrol on June 16, 2009

Gopher digging and eating can destroy a lawn, garden or golf course.

Gopher digging and eating can destroy a lawn, garden or golf course.

What is it about gophers and golf?  Ever since the movie Caddyshack, and maybe before, people love to make jokes about gophers and golf.  There is a Gopher Golf video game and Gopher Golf Club Head covers from a variety of manufacturers.  But people with gopher problems know it is no joke.

My buddy Donald in California has been living with gopher problems for years.  His yard backs up to a golf course, which you might think was ideal, but the golf course sends him gophers and doesn’t want to take responsibility for it.  He has a yard full of migrant gophers and all his attempts to get rid of gophers on his own have failed.  He has tried to trap them, poison them and gas them, with limited success. 

The problem has grown worse through the years and now his once beautiful lawn, along with the shrubs and flowers, is destroyed.  He planted some new flowers this spring thinking that he got rid of gophers last fall, but no… the next morning the plants were sucked half-way into a hole and the next day the plant was gone–devoured by an insatiable gopher. 

He told me he is ready to try gas bombs, but I told him that without professional knowledge that really wasn’t safe, especially the Molotov Cocktail version he was planning on.  He agreed that maybe it was time to try professional help to get rid of the gophers.  What did he have to lose?  Well, if he uses a professional, all he has to lose is gophers.  If he tries the homemade bomb approach he could lose a whole lot more than that!

Posted in Animal Control, Animal Removal, Gopher Control, Rodent Problems, Wildlife Control, Wildlife Removal | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Porcupine Mechanic in Salt Lake City, Utah

Posted by animalcontrol on May 19, 2009

eating

Porcupine quills are dangerous, and so are their teeth.

Last year I had a porcupine eating my car.  Don’t laugh, it wasn’t funny at all.  I replaced the gas and brake lines on my car while battling the creature, and who knows what might have happened if I hadn’t got professional help.

Anyway, here is the story.  I went out one morning to get in my car and noticed a dark spot under the car.  I checked it out and found it was brake fluid.  “How did that happen?” I asked myself.  I took it to the shop and got new lines.  The mechanics didn’t say anything was particularly strange about it.

About a week later I got in the car, and smelled gas.  I got out and took a look under the car and the gas line was leaking!  Now, that was really strange.  I hadn’t been driving on rough terrain or anything and couldn’t figure out what had happened.  Again, to the shop.  This time I specifically asked them to look at the line and let me know what was going on. 

The mechanic came out sort of shaking his head and showed me the line.  “I don’t know what to tell you, but this thing looks CHEWED.”  I looked at the line myself.  Sure enough, it looked for all the world like tooth marks.  But, what would eat a gas line?  “Well, we did find this on the inside of your right front tire.”  He held out a grey and black pin—no, not a pin, a porcupine quill! 

You have got to be kidding.  A porcupine is eating my car?  I went home and started to research porcupines.  They chew on all kinds on things.  I hadn’t noticed the animal because they usually work at night.  I decided to try to catch the animal in the act.  I stayed up all night on Friday and sure enough, in the middle of the night a big pincushion came waddling across my yard and went towards the car again. I ran outside and started towards the animal and then thought better of it.  Did I really want to get in an argument with a porcupine? 

Monday, I called the Pennsylvania Game Commission and they basically told me that porcupine removal was my problem.  The local dog catcher just laughed.  I would have to figure out how to get rid of porcupines on my own.  I did some research online and found out about Wildlife Control Operators.  These companies specialize in removing pest wild animals from people’s lives. 

I called them.  They couldn’t tell me why the animal had chosen my car, but they did know what to do about it. They came out and were able to quickly get rid of the porcupine. My car and I are very happy to live our own peaceful lives again.

Nationwide Porcupine Removal: 1-888-488-1415

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Mouse “Maid” in Houston, TX

Posted by animalcontrol on April 30, 2009

mice eat beeswax candles

This beeswax candle was nibbled away by mice.

During the summer of 2008 my family took an extended vacation.  When we returned a month later one of the first things we noticed when we opened the door was an odd, unpleasant smell.  Soon we noticed there were mouse droppings all over the house:  under the couches, behind the dressers, under the refrigerator.   

We purchased several of the ultra-sonic things you see advertised as mouse repellents.  They make a noise that people can’t hear and the animals supposedly hate.  They didn’t work.  The animals still came.  In fact, given the “evidence,” there were more of them than ever.  

We have a maid that comes to clean every three weeks and she started to get impatient.  She does not like to clean up after mice.  She says she is only paid to clean up after people, not animals.  Also, she is upset because she is a very good maid and takes a lot of pride in her work, but the house still smells funny, not like a clean house should. 

I thought we needed to hire an expert.  We hire people to do all kinds of things for us.  Dentists clean our teeth.  Maids clean our house. An accountant does our taxes.  We needed a professional to get rid of the mice.  

At first I didn’t want to do it.  After all, this would cost a lot of money.  Then I totaled up all that we had spent on the little noise makers and on deodorizers and thought about how hard it is to find a good maid, and it didn’t seem like such a bad idea any more.  

I found a company that works in the Houston Area.  No, it isn’t an exterminator, like for roaches.  It is an animal control operator.  These people live and breathe wild animals.  It is what they do.  They know all about how to get rid of mice, or just about any other critter that might be bothering you. 

They sure got rid of our mice.  It didn’t take them very long and they were very clean about it.  They didn’t interfere with our lives.  They didn’t make us feel bad for having a mouse problem.  Lots of people have mouse problems, they said, the important thing is to do something about it.

Nationwide Mouse Control: 1-888-488-1415

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