Euthanasia or Relocation

Pest control professionals in California have a conundrum. If they trap an animal like a raccoon or a skunk or a coyote, they either have to release it immediately on the spot, or they have to kill it. California Code of Regulations 14 465.5(g)(1):

(1) Immediate Dispatch or Release. All furbearing and nongame mammals that are legal to trap must be immediately killed or released. Unless released, trapped animals shall be killed by shooting where local ordinances, landowners, and safety permit. This regulation does not prohibit employees of federal, state, or local government from using chemical euthanasia to dispatch trapped animals.

When a resident calls to get an animal out of their house or yard it is often a shock to learn that this law exists. It conflicts with a certain everyday sense of the line between the city and the wild. Why not just relocate the animal? The fact that the only option is to kill that animal is its own problem, but re-releasing it on the clients property, when they have just paid to have it removed creates a kind of nature/nature catch-22. There are good reasons for this law. There also bad reasons. What’s a pro to do?

It is difficult to not break the law.