University of Illinois Extension

How To Solve a Problem with Wildlife at Your Home

Obtaining Help with a Wildlife Problem

The homeowner can handle some wildlife problems, but others are best left to professional animal handlers. If you need someone to help you with a wildlife problem contact your local Animal Control Department or call a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator. Illinois Department of Natural Resources District Wildlife Biologists can provide advice about how to handle wildlife problems and can issue animal removal permits, but they do not provide animal removal services.

Assistance from the Local Animal Control Department

Municipalities, counties, public service response teams, community service officers, animal control offices, and police departments may offer animal control services. Look in the phone directory to find out which agency provides animal control services in your area. Animal control may be able to provide free assistance with wildlife cases. However, services provided by animal control offices vary widely. Some will help only in an emergency, such as removing wildlife from the living quarters of your home. Others will lend you live-traps and will pick up the animals when they are captured. Animal control officers will not do home repair work. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to fix the hole or opening that allowed the animal to enter the home so that the same problem doesn’t occur again. Contact your local animal control office to find out what services they provide.

Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators

Due to safety concerns, in most cases, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) recommends that you hire a nuisance wildlife control operator (NWCO) to remove the bird or animal that is causing a problem. NWCOs must pass a test administered by the IDNR to obtain their commercial permit, and they must follow strict guidelines for capturing, handling, and transporting animals. These professionals will remove an animal(s) from your property for a fee. If you need the services of a NWCO, you can find contact information for a local operator here.

Reporting Problems with Services Provided by NWCOs

Complaints about fees or business practices of NWCOs should be directed to the Better Business Bureau. You can find your Better Business Bureau online.

Complaints about animal welfare (for example, failure to check traps daily as required by law) should be directed to a Conservation Police Officer or reported at the IDNR’s Target Illinois Poachers (TIP) hotline 1-877- 2DNRLAW (1-877-236-7529).