The MSPCA can offer you advice and solutions that will help you solve your conflicts with wildlife in a humane, long-term, and cost-effective manner. Contact our Advocacy Department with questions. Also please refer to our Intruder Excluder, conflict prevention, and help by species pages.
If, however, you choose to go to an outside company for help, the following information may be useful to you.
What is a Problem Animal Control Agent (PAC)?
In Massachusetts, Problem Animal Control agents (PACs) can be called when conflicts with wildlife are occurring. PACs are often individuals or private companies that charge a fee for their services and fall under the category of “pest control”.
The burden falls upon homeowners to make sure the person they are hiring will solve the wildlife conflict in a long-term and humane manner. Some PACs are highly professional, others are not. It is important to keep in mind when hiring an outside party to assist you that it is illegal to relocate wildlife in Massachusetts, meaning that animals that are live trapped on your property need to be released on your property, or they must be killed. If a PAC agent tells you the animal will be released in another location, they are either breaking the law or lying to you.
Also, it’s important to know that the removal of an animal, without proper exclusion and follow-up work, will just open up habitat for another animal to move into. This means that your problem will occur again and again until the proper exclusion and follow-up work are addressed.
How can you feel comfortable choosing a private company to resolve wildlife conflicts?
The following questions may help you to determine if a particular company is right for you.
- Does the PAC agent listen to the description of the problem and ask relevant questions without first launching into a discussion of fees and responsibilities?
- Does the person appear to care about their work, the animals involved, and the concern of the homeowner? Are they willing to come to the scene, examine the problem, and give an estimate in writing?
- Do they appear to be professional in approach and willingness to discuss the problem and in their manner of giving advice?
- Does the person appear knowledgeable and take the time to explain not only what the source of the problem is but its causes and potential solutions?
- Are they licensed by the state and bonded against any incidental damage that might be caused?
- Do they try to scare the homeowner with talk about wildlife disease or dangerous animals?
- Are the procedures to be used simply and concisely explained, with clear indication as to whether anything could harm the animal?
- Do they have more than one recommendation to resolve the problem, especially recommendations that involve non-lethal solutions?
- Does the recommendation include fixing the problem so that it does not recur? (This includes a discussion of needed structural repairs or changes such as chimney caps, alteration of human habits, or exclusion to prevent animals from getting into areas where they are not wanted.)
- Is the work guaranteed for at least a year?
- Do they offer a written contract that protects both parties and stipulates that non-lethal methods will be used before any lethal methods are considered, and that the homeowner will be advised and consulted if lethal control is necessary?
Click here to go to a list of vendors on our resource page.