City considers options for dealing with wild animals
by Chris Norwood
TALLADEGA — City Manager Brian Muenger said he is looking to partner with a private company to handle wild animals in the city, including packs of feral dogs that have recently killed several pets.

“We’re trying to work out a contract with a company in Birmingham that is better equipped to handle things like that,” he said. “The cage traps and catch poles that animal control uses now are just not effective against wild animals and long-term strays.”

He said that animal control officer Jessica Jones had also been in contact with animal control in another county, but there was no official agreement in place there, either.

“If this comes to fruition, it’s likely to be with a private company,” Muenger said. “Some of those will handle things like possums and raccoons, but won’t work with ‘domesticated’ animals that have reverted to their wild natures.”

Muenger said he became aware of the scope of the problem about two weeks ago during a speaking engagement at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. “Based on what I heard there, and looking at other complaints, it looks like they range from Dellwood to around Jemison Park,” he said.

Animal control does have a tranquilizer gun now, and the city is working to get animal control officers trained and certified in using it. “But even once we’ve done that, I understand you have to hit a certain spot for it to be effective, and then you have to be able to track it until the tranquilizer kicks in. That’s why we’re looking for outside help. We do catch some wild animals, especially cats, with the cage traps, but for a larger dog, that’s just not going to work. And as far as getting close enough to use a catch pole, that’s not going to happen. These dogs have survived on their own, with no one helping them, because they’re pretty savvy.”

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© 2012