How can I keep stray animals out of my yard?

Consider these methods to get rid of strays. Keep in mind that safety for both humans and animals should be considered, and not all methods are effective for all animals or legal in all areas.

1. Propel water. Water propelled from a cup, pitcher, hose or toy water gun can dissuade animals from visiting. Even if the water doesn’t make contact with the animal, the motions involved and the water landing nearby will send the message that they are not welcome. This method, however, can be time consuming and requires that someone regularly monitors your yard. It also won’t work in winter due to freezing conditions.

2. Fence your yard. If you are building a fence, consider what animals you want to exclude as you select fencing materials. If you already have a fence and want to deter cats from climbing it, try placing strips of double faced tape or plastic along the top. Cats do not like the feel of these materials on their paws. Dusty conditions quickly degrade the tackiness of the tape, however, and the tape may be difficult to remove from some fence surfaces.

3. Try a repellent, but don’t get your hopes up. Repellents to keep animals out of a given area rarely, if ever, work. Use a repellent device. These devices usually involve a triggering mechanism so that sound and lights are activated when a barrier is broken by the animal’s entry or movement. With this method, it is important to consider the effects on the animal as well as neighbors within audio range. Visit your local pet store to see the products they carry.

4. Trap and remove. If all else fails while trying to rid stray pets from your yard, help is available through your local animal control agency or local animal damage control company. They may also be able to assist with wild animal control. Caution, domesticated animals are considered property. Trapping and removing free-roaming domesticated animals is not legal everywhere and even if it is, you may find that it is politically an explosive issue. While most towns have regulations on stray dogs, most lack them on cats. Trapping cats, even if legal, should be done with utmost discretion as the political consequences can be severe, even if you are acting legally and ethically. Details on control techniques can be found at Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management.

5. Change local laws. Although difficult, changing local laws to add penalties for free-ranging pets is another possible avenue. In this way, animal control officers would have legal authority to remove animals.

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