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Archive for the ‘Wildlife Removal’ 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 »

Sky High Bats in Salt Lake City, Utah

Posted by animalcontrol on October 22, 2009

jlg

High and inaccessible areas can often be reached with a JLG. This is a wonderful tool for bat removal because it allows us to safely remove and exclude hard-to-reach bats.

Recently we completed a bat removal job in a Salt Lake City, Utah high rise building. Mexican free-tail bats had occupied the building for several years and the colony had grown to approximately 250 individuals.  The smell was tremendous, particularly in the upper stories and the elevator shafts. 

The primary entrance and exit area was on the west side of the building at the sixth floor.  Naturally, it would be so very high and so very inaccessible, except by using our trusty JLG Man Lift.  This is a sort of crane-like device with a basket that will hold a person.  They are very safe, but while we had a person up working on the exclusion step in the bat removal, it became necessary to move the lift.  We were parked in the alley, which isn’t particularly well maintained, and hit a bump.  It was probably only about an inch high, but that creates a lot of sway and shake six stories up.  What a scary thing! 

Anyway, we were able to finish sealing the area so the bats couldn’t return.  The guano removal and decontamination steps were almost as interesting as the sealing step.  How do you clean the sides of an elevator shaft?  How do you check all the tiny gaps in such a big building?  How do you decontaminate through all the various shafts and conduits?  That is why people hire professional bat removal companies like us.  Click here to request information about professional bat control.

Not all bat removal jobs are as complicated, or as interesting, as this job was, but the basic steps are the same.  We inspect the site and create a custom bat removal plan.  We implement the plan by getting the bats out, performing necessary maintenance and repairs and then decontaminating the entire structure.  Even if the bats are sky high, like this colony was, we can help.

Nationwide Bat Removal Services: 1-888-488-1415

Posted in Animal Removal, Bat Control, Wildlife Control, Wildlife Removal | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in Animal Control, Bat Control, Wildlife Control, Wildlife Removal | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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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Flying Rats (AKA Pigeons) in Salt Lake City, UT

Posted by animalcontrol on July 6, 2009

pigeon

Pigeon control will reduce the health risks imposed by pigeon droppings.

When I tell people I am looking for pigeon control options, they often say things like “but pigeons are cute” and “what did the pigeon to do you?”  Well, one of my children has asthma and that makes it very serious. 

We live in an apartment building in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Pigeons like to roost on the roof of the complex.  The problem, besides the noise and filth on the ground and around the building all the time, is the nests.  Pigeons poop in their nests all the time.  In fact, the nests are mostly disease ridden piles of poop from what I can see.

The poop dries out and combines with all the other junk in the nest and gradually becomes very powdery.  When the wind blows or anything disturbs the nests all that dust starts to move around.  It comes down the vent pipes for the bathroom.  It is sucked in through the air conditioner.  It filters in through the windows.  Basically, my apartment is full of pigeon poop dust all the time.

If you know anything about asthma, you can image what this does to my daughter’s breathing.  I can’t believe how much more often we need to do breathing treatments and use her inhaler.  It took me a while to figure out what was going on.  I just thought maybe she was growing or a change in the seasons or something.  Now that I am sure I know, I am going to the manager and demand that something be done to control the pigeons.  My daughter’s health and the health of us all is at stake.  They have to get rid of these nests and control the pigeon problem in the future.

You might say it is just my opinion and unfair to the birds, but you don’t live with the beasts.  I am sure that something can be done to control the pigeons and make this a nice place to live.

Nationwide Pigeon Control: 1-888-488-1415

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Get rid of Pigeons in Salt Lake City, Utah

Posted by animalcontrol on June 30, 2009

Years ago I heard this crazy song by a guy named Tom Lehrer:  Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.  


The best, most effective, most humane way to get rid of pigeons is to trap them and remove them from the location.

The best, most effective, most humane way to get rid of pigeons is to trap them and remove them from the location.

Spring is here, a-suh-puh-ring is here. Life is skittles and life is beer. I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring. I do, don't you?  'Course you do. But there's one thing that makes spring complete for me, And makes every Sunday a treat for me.   All the world seems in tune On a spring afternoon, When we're poisoning pigeons in the park. Every Sunday you'll see My sweetheart and me, As we poison the pigeons in the park.   When they see us coming, the birdies all try an' hide, But they still go for peanuts when coated with cyanide. The sun's shining bright, Everything seems all right, When we're poisoning pigeons in the park.   We've gained notoriety, And caused much anxiety In the Audubon Society With our games. They call it impiety And lack of propriety, And quite a variety Of unpleasant names. But it's not against any religion To want to dispose of a pigeon.   So if Sunday you're free, Why don't you come with me, And we'll poison the pigeons in the park. And maybe we'll do In a squirrel or two, While we're poisoning pigeons in the park.   We'll murder them all amid laughter and merriment, Except for the few we take home to experiment. My pulse will be quickenin' With each drop of strych'nine We feed to a pigeon. (It just takes a smidgin!) To poison a pigeon in the park.

You can see videos of a performance and all that stuff on YouTube, but be warned, the song is very catchy and will get stuck in you head.  I mention it because I find the song in very poor taste, yet find myself humming it from time to time. 
 
Lately, that has happened more because I have some pigeons I need to get rid of and, while I wouldn’t do this myself or recommend it to anyone, pigeons can make a person pretty desperate.
 
I live not too far from one of Salt Lake City’s great parks. I often see people feeding the birds there during the day and sometimes I just want to shout at them “Stop it!!! You are encouraging them!!”  The birds might eat in the park, but some of them roost on my house and they are driving me crazy.
 
I want to get rid of pigeons in the worst way.  I don’t want to poison them, but what are my options.  How can I get rid of the pigeons that are roosting on my house?

Nationwide Pigeon Control: 1-888-488-1415

Posted in Bird Control, pigeon control, Professional Trapping, Wildlife Control, Wildlife Removal | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Do it Yourself Skunk Control gone wrong near Denver, Colorado

Posted by animalcontrol on June 4, 2009

We remove dead animals from all kinds of locations.

We remove dead animals from all kinds of locations.

Years ago a female skunk made her home under what is now my parents’ home on a ranch in central Colorado.  The home is an old one and the result of numerous additions over nearly 100 years.  There is not much foundation under the house, so in order to access the pipes under the bathroom a tunnel had been dug to provide access through a very small crawl space.  

This mama skunk determined that the tunnel was a great place for a family and eventually had a litter of babies.  Having now six of these creatures living under the house created a smell that would have to be experienced to be believed.  But, what to do about it? 

My grandfather consulted a neighbor, Roy, who had a surefire, guaranteed solution.  He had the foolish idea to run a hose from the exhaust of the pickup into the tunnel under the bathroom.  He thought it would drive them out where they could be shot.  

(NOTE:  This is a BAD idea, very dangerous and could have killed the people in the house. Please never attempt this foolish technique at your home or your neighbor’s home.) 

The old ranch truck was backed up to the house and the hose positioned.  A shooter was ready and waiting.  The animals never appeared. They died under the house.  Live ones are bad but dead skunks are worse.  The smell of dead skunk made the home truly unlivable.  

My grandfather had to crawl to the very back of the crawl space and haul out all the dead skunks.  Every trip out from under the house he would drop a rotten carcass, vomit and crawl back under. The smell was so severe he became sick and remained weak and ill for a long time afterwards.  

After the whole experience was over and people had time to think about it everyone agreed that we were very lucky to have only dead skunks, and not people.  Too bad my grandfather didn’t know about wildlife control contractors.  Actually, they didn’t even exist then.  This was over 40 years ago and people had to fend for themselves.  We are lucky to have professional help available for nuisance animal problems today.

For Skunk Control or Removal of Dead Animals:  1-888-488-1415

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Pigeon Problems in Salt Lake City, UT

Posted by animalcontrol on April 30, 2009

pigeon crap

Pigeon droppings accumulate quickly. A person could easily spend the rest of his life continually cleaning up after them. A professional trapper will get rid of them.

You should know right away that I hate pigeons.  Oh, I know that they are God’s own creation and probably play some important environmental role and all that, but when all is said and done, I hate them! 

Why do I hate them?  Well, I never really liked them because they are noisy, pushy, dirty creatures that remind me strongly of some people I have known.  But, it didn’t really turn to hate until the birds took over my building in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Each day as I walk out of my building, I have to dodge pigeon poop.  There are two nests just above the front stoop of the building.  The building hires a service to come twice a week to clean the mess off the stoop, but there is always a number of slimy messes to step around.  And it isn’t just poop.  There are feathers, bits of food, egg shells and bugs. When you look down and see what is on the steps, you are tempted to look up to see if a bird is taking aim, but then the mess just might end up on your face, and that would be too much. 

All those eggshells mean more birds soon and I don’t want the ones that are there already let alone any more of them. 

The building had the exterminator install spikes on the ledge that were supposed to solve the pigeon problems by driving them away.  It didn’t work.  The dumb birds roost there anyway and just work around the spikes.  I guess the job must not have been done correctly, because those things are supposed to work.  

The final straw is that I need to sell my place, and who, especially in today’s market, is going to take a second look, when their first look is the rear end results of a pigeon?

Nationwide Pigeon Removal Referrals: 1-888-488-1415

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