‘Wild Creatures’ and D.C. Animal Control

Animal ControlI have a wonderful dog who has the tendency to want to catch wild creatures. It’s a normal instinct for most dogs, so when I heard a low growl in my yard and went out to look I saw my pet attack an opossum that had made the mistake of crossing the patio in the daylight.

Unusually for my dog, she listened when I ordered her to drop the creature. My first mistake. Once I got close I could tell the poor opossum was mortally wounded. So I thought it needed a quick end but I don’t own a gun in D.C. so I couldn’t solve the problem that way. A flat edge metal shovel was needed – which I didn’t have (but have since purchased). My last resort, which I thought was quite clever, call Animal Control.

 I told them the situation and asked them to come quickly. Of course, that was the second mistake. Animal Control took 3 hours by which point the creature had managed to drag itself into the bushes. When the Animal Control person finally arrived, he, of course, didn’t want to go looking for the creature. Instead, he had to check out my dog, inform me that my pet was quarantined at my home for the next 45 days even though I had proof of all shots directly sent to him from the vet (whom he knew). The reason – a house pet had contact with a “wild creature.” If I found the opossum I was supposed to capture it and call Animal Control back.

An hour later, I found the creature. I took a blue recycling box and put it over the poor thing to at least keep light out of its eyes. I called Animal Control back. Four hours later they came to get it and to promise me they’d test it and let me know the results. Ha!

Fourty-eight days later they showed up at my door to re-inspect my dog and to release her from house arrest. In addition, they told me I had to pay $15 for a dog license in the city. Why can’t the vets give those when they vaccinate? Because then D.C. wouldn’t make the money. And, by the way, according to this helpful Animal Control person, opossums almost never have rabies so, of course, the District did not even test the little creature.

Lesson: Do not contact animal control unless you have no house pets. Or, if absolutely necessary, do what my friend in California did – moved his dog to a friend’s place and when Animal Control arrived to remove a dead deer, he denied that any pets existed. So for small creatures have a steel shovel available or just let your dogs and cats follow their instincts and don’t try to save the “wild creature’s” life!

Happy Hallowe’en!

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