D.C. Council to vote on wildlife protection bill

UPDATE: The D.C. Council gave tentative approval Tuesday to a bill that would outlaw the use of glue, body crushing traps or snares to catch animals, such as raccoons and squirrels. It also bans the use of poison to control pigeons and sparrows.

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A gray squirrel rests his chin on the dead limb of a tree in Gates Mills, Ohio on Sunday, May 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta) (Photo: Associated Press)

If the bill is passed, it would still be legal to use lethal traps typically used to catch mice or rats.

A final vote will be held in two weeks.

ORIGINAL: A wildlife protection bill would require D.C. residents to humanely remove critters such as squirrels or possums that come into their homes.

It's important to note the Wildlife Protection Act does not include rats and mice. According to the proposal, you could still get rid of those animals in the way you see fit, but when it comes to other wildlife there would be "humanitarian guidelines."

Tuesday, D.C. Council members will vote on whether animals that creep into your home should have a right to live.

"Why don't you just catch them and release them, it's much better. Why kill them?" said Victoria Jones, who lives in Northwest D.C. "You shouldn't kill any animals, even a roach. All animals have the right to live."

But tell that to someone who's had to live with pesky pests.

"Having lived in homes that have them, I don't want to be stopped from killing them...but that having been said, I don't know how they're going to enforce that type of thing," said Josh Smith, also a Northwest resident.

It seems plenty of people agree with the premise of wildlife preservation. What they disagree on is whether thriving animals should be a priority.

Holly Bryce said, "Focus on the school system for a change and less on squirrels ... There are a bunch of other things in D.C. that need to get done before they try to legislate animals running around people's houses."

Ward 3 Council Member Mary Cheh introduced the act aimed at preserving animal family units. But one D.C. resident suggests looking at the issue from another angle.

Jim Keown said, "If they're a threat to public health, by all means look at it."

We tried to reach Cheh Monday night but without success. At council chairman Vincent Gray's monthly press briefing Monday, he wouldn't say how he'll vote on Tuesday.

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