Love Your Wild Neighbor Campaign

Raccoons, groundhogs, and skunks are part of wild, wonderful Pennsylvania. HAP is working on a campaign to educate residents of Allegheny County and beyond on humane harassment techniques that serve as an alternative to trapping.

Ineffective Methods

 

The City of Pittsburgh has one of the most inhumane and ineffective trapping programs for a city of our size in the country. Outside the city, most wildlife management companies are not any better. Not only does trapping not solve the problem residents are facing with wildlife, but by state law, rabies-vector species (raccoons, groundhogs, skunks) MUST be killed.

Each year, hundreds of animals are euthanized by Pittsburgh’s Animal Care and Control—at taxpayer expense. Trapping these animals doesn’t solve the problem and should only be used for emergencies, such as an animal in your living space.

Not only would humane solutions help animals and create a lasting solution, but also save thousands of taxpayer dollars and the valuable time of our Animal Care and Control officers. The vast majority of wildlife “conflicts” are created by humans, and most wildlife pose no risk of rabies.

Love Your Wild Neighbor-Raccoon trash lids bus sign

What is HAP doing about it?

 

HAP continues to work with relevant city parties like 311 operators, the Pittsburgh Police Department, and those that answer phone call complaints at City Hall to ensure they pass on humane and effective solutions to residents complaining of wildlife conflicts. We plan to continue these conversations, but also have an educational campaign assisting residents directly.

Introducing HAP the Raccoon

HAP has hired EmMedia, a marketing firm specializing in brand and media strategy, video production, content creation, and inbound marketing. “HAP the Raccoon” and his friends will be seen by all of Allegheny County to teach people to “Love Your Wild Neighbor”!

Love Your Wild Neighbor "Put a lid on it" poster
Love Your Wild Neighbor "yinz better redd up n'at" poster

How You Can Help

While HAP continues to apply for grant funding to support our educational campaign, donations from the public will ensure more and more people receive the message that trapping doesn’t work. Please consider donating to HAP to support this campaign, and sharing our message far and wide on your own social media!

For the latest updates on this project and others, come to our next meeting.

FAQs

  • What do I do if I have squirrels, opossums, or raccoons in my attic or under my porch?

    • Soak a few rags in ammonia and leave them around the attic for three nights in a row. Leave the lights on as well. They’ll be driven out by the smell and the light, taking any offspring with them. Once you think they’re gone, sprinkle some flour on the attic floor to show any new tracks. If none appear, be sure to seal any holes they may have entered through.
  • A bird built a nest on my porch. How should I remove the nest?

    • If you do not want birds nesting on your porch, you can either need to put up a barrier or knock the nest down as the birds are trying to build it.
  • Why is there a bird diving at me when I go outside?

    • This means there is a nest nearby. Make sure to walk outside with an umbrella. The problem will usually end within a month or two as the babies leave the nest.
  • How do I keep birds from flying into my windows?

    • This behavior is due to birds seeing their reflection and being territorial. Window decals will help distract the bird, or you may need to hang a branch in front of the window for a few weeks.
  • What do I do if I trap an opossum or a raccoon?

    • We discourage trapping because you are displacing an animal from their home and releasing them in an unfamiliar place, which can lead to death or the orphaning of babies. Here are some resources on finding a wildlife professional.
  • What do I do if I find a baby squirrel?

    • Leave the baby on the ground where you found them for a few hours to give the mother a chance to retrieve them. Once a mother squirrel realizes a baby fell out, she will come down and get them. If you have already touched the baby, don’t worry—she’ll still take them back.
  • What should I do if I find a squirrel that’s been hit by a car or is dragging its back legs?

    • Be very careful! Use gloves or a thick towel to get the squirrel into a secure box. They have very sharp teeth, and you do not want to get bitten. It is very rare for a squirrel to carry rabies, but you still do not want to put yourself at risk. Find a wildlife rehabilitator.
  • What do I do if I find an injured bird?

    • Put the bird into a box and bring them to a wildlife rehabilitator. If the bird is still able to hop around, try to corner them and throw a towel over the bird so you are able to scoop them into a box with the least amount of trauma to the bird.
  • What do I do if I find a baby bird?

    • Nestlings are small and typically naked. If the bird is a nestling, the best option is to return the bird to the nest if you see the nest. The mom will continue to feed them. If the bird is a fledgling, they will appear fluffy, with some feathers and some naked patches. They spend about a week on the ground and in low branches learning how to fly. The parents will feed them and try to keep them hidden in a bush or up against your house. There’s no need to do anything.
  • What do I do if I find a baby opossum?

    • Female opossums can carry roughly a dozen babies in their pouch. If one falls out, they don’t come back for the baby. If you find a baby opossum, they need to be brought to a wildlife rehabilitator. The same is necessary if you find a dead opossum on the side of the road with babies that are still alive
  • What do I do if I find a baby deer?

    • Leave the baby alone until you have talked to a wildlife rehabilitator! The baby deer’s mom may have hidden them and will return at dusk or evening to feed them. Do not attempt to feed the baby as it can make them sick. Take a look at our page about injured or orphaned animals.
  • What do I do if I find an injured deer?

    • Look at our list of resources for helping injured wildlife.

      You can also call the PA Game Commission: 724-238-9523.

 

Please note, Humane Action Pittsburgh (HAP) is not a wildlife rescue and is unable to address concerns or assist with wildlife emergencies. Please utilize the resources on our website to find the appropriate organization to contact. Submissions to HAP through our contact form or email will not be able to be addressed.

Thank you to Fund for Wild Nature for their generous grant in support of this campaign