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Posted on Fri, May 3, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Humane Society of Huron Valley joins bevy of companies offering wildlife removal service

By Ben Freed


Raccoons and other wildlife pick up their activity in the spring and summer months. The Humane Society of Huron Valley says it can help homeowners keep them out.

Courtesy Florence Pache

As the weather finally warms, critters are coming out of hibernation and finding their way into nooks and crannies in homes across Washtenaw County.

The Humane Society of Huron Valley has always responded to requests to assist sick and injured animals, but the organization recently announced a new service that offers to humanely remove any animal causing a nuisance.

“We’ve always been the place that people have called when there might be sick or injured wildlife been involved, and we’ve been taking a lot of calls from community members who were concerned about making sure any wildlife removal was done humanely,” HSHV spokeswoman Deb Kern said.

“Our team is already trained in wildlife removal so this was really just the next step for us.”

While the HSHV helps injured or sick animals for free, residents calling on the society for basic animal removal will be charged a fee for the services. Kern said proceeds from the fee, which starts at $75, will be fed back to the organization to help animals in the community.

The humane society is joinning about 10 companies that offer wildlife removal in the Ann Arbor area. The other companies all advertise that their processes are humane as well and they can provide some services that go beyond what the Humane Society is offering.

“We don’t just go in and take the animals out,” Kay Ellis, owner of Complete Animal Control, said.

“There is an inspection beforehand and we do a consultation with the property owner to determine what kind of repairs will be needed once the animals are removed.”

Ellis also said that her company uses new techniques that go beyond traditional humane trapping methods.

“Right now it’s baby season so trapping is not actually the preferable method for removing raccoons and squirrels. If you trap a mother even in a humane trap the babies will be left and not know what to do,” she said.

“Then you can end up with a dead animal situation. It’s really not humane and can make matters worse.”

Complete Animal Control uses a pheromone product that gives off the scent of rodent’s natural predators. Ellis said the smell compels the mother to leave any nest that she’s created and take younger family members with her.

Neither Ellis nor Jesse Sutton, co-owner of Creature Control, expressed much concern that the new HSHV service would cut into their business.

Kern said that the HSHV is not trying to become a major competitor to the already established wildlife control experts in the area.

“People call us all the time and need help, we just want to be able to provide the service they’re asking for. If it’s something we can do safely and timely, we’ll do it,” she said.

“If there’s major damage or there’s going to need to be extensive repairs, that’s not what we have expertise in. There will be times when we’re the right fit for people and there will be others when we won’t.”

Kern said before this service was established, HSHV staff and volunteers would direct callers to do their own due diligence before picking an animal removal service. The goal of the new program is to provide ease of mind for Washtenaw County residents who want to make sure that any wildlife on their property is removed without injury.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Sun, May 5, 2013 : 7:29 p.m.

Florence Pache's photo reminded me about mine, from 2007 and the Ann Arbor Subway system. There were three baby raccoons with no parents downtown at the Federal Building. Luckily they were young enough to catch and box up, as they started to wander under cars at the stop light at Liberty and 5th Ave..


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:17 a.m.

So, how can I get rid of the groundhogs in my backyard?


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

Buy one or more traps available at different retail stores. I lived in a small village pop. 900 with a RR track mainline between our property and a large berm on the far side of the tracks where the critters holed up. Also at the east side of our property we had a combination garage and barn. The barn had a dirt floor and there wasn't deep enough concrete at the walls to block the critters coming in. A supply of lumber on one side and another supply in a large wooden box that had been there for years along with a large hole in the house foundation that I couldn't block the critters from getting into the space where there was no basement. The traps were in use from spring 'til fall and possums, raccoons, groundhogs and one time a skunk in the barn. A mile or two outside of town was a creek (they called it a river) and I dumped one summer a 5 groundhog family and a 4 raccoon family and an unknown number of possums and loose cats. The skunk showed up in the barn in a trap and I threw a plastic tarp over the trap so I wouldn't get sprayed, ran a dryer outlet hose from the trap to the exhaust on my van just outside of the barn door and put the poor thing to sleep. I don't know if these actions were punishable by law or not - if so "todit" - (the other dude did it). Those animals wreaked havoc on the two gardens that year and I weeded more animals out than weeds. I think it was an extra wet spring and summer.

Stan Hyne

Sun, May 5, 2013 : 4:12 a.m.

I like woodchucks, but they can be tough on the garden. Much less problems than raccoons that I also like.


Sat, May 4, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

Read the DNR website and DO NOT relocate trapped animals to "the country" as many, including Critter Control, do. Racoons are a menace and are putting great pressure on native songbirds. In addition, what some city residents think is the country is in fact someone else's backyard or farmstead. A mature Racoon has a range of 6 miles. If you trap and release you are only giving the problem to someone else, most likely a farmer. Do not trap and release, you are only passing the buck. And no discharge of firearms in the city limits either. An example of the over abundance of coons: I was losing eggs and chickens, so I set two traps one night, and came up with two coons. I repeated this for six nights, and filled both traps every night. Should I let them go, or should I apply for a fur license? In Japan there is a bounty. When I was younger and uninformed, I would have released them in Barton Hills or Burns Parks as a joke. Now they are humanly destroyed and disposed of in accordence with DNR rules. Sorry, animal lovers, but some animals are more equal than others.


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 2:17 a.m.

Seems to me that in the long run it would be more effective and less work to secure your chicken coop. The population of raccoons in our cities is very large.


Sat, May 4, 2013 : 6:46 p.m.

"Humanely destroyed." Right. Kind of like how meat is "humanely raised."


Fri, May 3, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

$75 to remove an opossum from my garage? I doubt I would go that route. I do not necessarily expect them to do it for free, but then if someone does not want me to to it my way then they can pay.


Sat, May 4, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

fair price. check out what others charge.

Hugh Giariola

Sat, May 4, 2013 : 11:28 a.m.

Better not show too much dissent here. I had a comment deleted comparing the price of the services mentioned above to the relative cost of one round of twenty-two.

Margaret Leary

Fri, May 3, 2013 : 8:14 p.m.

Re: Deer. The only solution to the excess deer population in the eastern U.S. (which is harmful not only to humans and their activities, but to terrain, bird, and other animals) is to re-legalize the selling of venison in a licensed and regulated manner, like beef and pork. Over a century ago the sale of venison was prohibited by law, and the combination of the hunting and gun industries has prevented a return to that sensible solution. Deer have done serious harm to forests, grasslands, streams by their out-of-proportion numbers. Grouse, pheasants, songbirds, fish, amphibians, and more are all suffering. I wrote about this in the Observer in Jan. 2012 and interviewed many experts to come by this knowledge.


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 2:16 a.m.

Here's a link to Ms. Leary's article in the Observer:


Sat, May 4, 2013 : 12:06 a.m.

Please supply proof of the harm deer do to birds! Writing about something does not make it so.


Fri, May 3, 2013 : 7:58 p.m.

Heh...nice picture. Never noticed that our storm drains say "The Ann Arbor."

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, May 3, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

"iron works" is probably on there somewhere.


Fri, May 3, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

How about transplanting most of the deer herd found on north campus to the Upper Peninsula? Someone is going to be seriously hurt by these "gentle creatures" if something isn't done . Wild animals don't mix well with people.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:14 a.m.

Nicholas I love animals.Had wild turkey this week and venison last week!


Fri, May 3, 2013 : 9:56 p.m.

Love the post and love the responses. Most excellent.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, May 3, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

Instead, how about we transplant the people who don't like animals out of "tree city USA"?

Margaret Leary

Fri, May 3, 2013 : 8:16 p.m.

I commented separately about deer, but want to add that the harm will come, among the matters I mentioned in my separate post, from disease too: Lyme disease, chronic wasting disease that gets into the beef herd, and others.

Mulberry Bank

Fri, May 3, 2013 : 7:41 p.m.

Excellent news! I trust HSHV with any animal for any reason. Good to hear of some of the other services and their methods too.


Fri, May 3, 2013 : 7:23 p.m.

We need our own "TurtleMan"


Fri, May 3, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

Nice to hear this but I would rather hear that they are assigning more cruelty investigators or people deputized as cruelty investigators.


Sat, May 4, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

Make a donation to the cause. This isn't costing money, it's bringing in revenue. If it was in the budget for more cruelty investigators, ubetcha there would be. This isn't FREE.