The state Department of Natural Resources is proposing changes to a current rule that would require animal control workers to kill raccoons, opossums and coyotes when they’re caught, FOX 59 reported.
The decision to euthanize the animals is currently left up to the professional, who can release the animals if they have permission, the Indy Star reported.The agency and some animal control businesses say the rule change could help prevent nuisance problems and the possible spread of disease, the newspaper said.
“These are nuisance animals, said Marty Benson, a spokesman with the department. “Nobody likes nuisance animals,” he said, according to FOX 59.
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The agency also cites an increasing population as a reason for the new regulation, ABC 6 reported.
“Euthanizing a coyote, raccoon, and opossum trapped under the nuisance wild animal control permit can prevent problems for others without harming the population,” the DNR said, according to the Indy Star.
But some animal control workers are uncomfortable with being required to kill the creatures.
“I don’t understand how the state can force me to do this,” said Advanced Pest Control owner Michael Meservy, who has worked in animal control for nearly 14 years, the Indy Star reported. “How can they force me to kill things to get my license?”
Meservy specializes in catch and release, ABC 6 said. But under the new regulation, he’d no longer be able to release the animals int othe wild.
“There is no way I can morally look at myself in a mirror knowing I’m slaughtering hundreds of animals a year,” Meservy told the Indy Star. “This is not why I got into this line of work.”
Animal rights advocates aren’t thrilled either.
“This takes away any kind of discretion from these operators and those homeowners who want to use a more humane method,” said Erin Huang, the Indiana state director of the Humane Society of the United States. “They won’t have that choice, and I don’t see the purpose for taking that away,” he told the newspaper.
Commenters on the society’s Facebook page were disgusted by the idea, with some saying there’s another way.
The Natural Resources Commission will vote on the proposed changes in May, ABC 6 reported.