From the office of Council President Darlene Harris: What puts the “care” in Animal Care and Control


When many City of Pittsburgh residents think of Animal Care and Control, they think of the old term “dog catchers.” Dogs, and cats, too, are frequently picked up and returned to their owners, thanks to city pet licenses affixed to the animal’s collar. The ACC resolves more wildlife concerns from residents than those about domestic animals.

There’s lots of wildlife in Pittsburgh and we are fortunate to have such a variety. Some live in one neighborhood more than others; like skunks, 99 percent of which you can find in the West End.

Most coyotes live in Brighton Heights and Riverview Park, so keep your pets protected. Don’t let them run free anywhere other than in the Off Leash Exercise Areas. Deer live in every neighborhood, along with black, grey and red squirrels, bats, raccoons, ground hogs, turkeys, pheasants, snakes, rabbits and foxes.

Sometimes, smaller animals accidently get into homes and most people, rightly so, are afraid. Generally, these animals are more scared of us we are of them. In cases like this, call ACC and they will resolve the issue.

The ACC leaves the deer and turkeys to find their way back to their herds and flocks, unless injured or threatened with injury. Rarely are Pittsburghers bitten by wildlife. But when it does happen, call ACC so that they can capture the animal and immediately test it for the rabies virus.

Vacant buildings and houses usually attract wildlife including bats, raccoons and ground hogs. These buildings become breeding grounds and, when ACC is called, it’s the responsibility of the building owner to come to the property along with ACC to resolve the issues.

Feral cats can be a project. Born in the wild, feral cats have little, if any, human contact. Most often they don’t like being approached by people. They hiss and growl in self-defense or from fear. Some of these cats can be domesticated. Most importantly, they need to be spayed or neutered so no more feral cats are bred.

ACC loans humane traps, with a deposit, for up to 14 days. These traps can be used for feral cats or other small animals. Captured wildlife is often relocated to other areas, but skunks, raccoons, ground hogs, bats and foxes are euthanized by the ACC.

By law, the Game Commission does not allow the ACC to relocate or release these animals because they are considered to be a high risk for the rabies virus. ACC’s euthanizing method is humane and is approved and overseen by a licensed veterinarian.

No healthy dog or cat has ever been euthanized. All domestic animals are taken to the Animal Rescue League for veterinarian care and put up for adoption.

If you have any concerns about any domestic animals or wildlife, call ACC at 412-255-2036.

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