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Thursday, November 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Idaho

New University of Idaho animal policies set in response to gassing of nuisance animals

UPDATED: Fri., Feb. 17, 2017

By Shanon Quinn Moscow-Pullman Daily News

More than four months after a University of Idaho task force delivered its suggestions concerning the management of nuisance animals on campus to President Chuck Staben, changes to policy may begin to appear.

“We continue to work through the details of this program with” Moscow police and the Humane Society, Jodi Walker, UI communications director, said in a statement Wednesday. “We should have more soon.”

Walker said answers may be available as early as next week.

Capt. Roger Lanier of the Moscow police said Chief James Fry has been working with the university on the new nuisance animal program, but calls to the Humane Society of the Palouse went unanswered by press time.

The program was UI’s response to the discovery that campus veterinarian Peter Autenried and members of UI Campus Facilities trapped and killed eight stray cats – which Autenried described as feral – a raccoon and more than 1,200 wild birds in a gas chamber on campus between January and September of 2016.

A five-member task force – of which four members were involved in the original trapping program – was appointed by Staben in the early autumn of 2016 to examine university policies as well as local statutes and make recommendations for new policy.

They presented their findings to the president Sept. 29.

In October, Vice President of Infrastructure Dan Ewart shared the findings and suggestions with the university’s faculty senate, saying the university had ceased trapping and euthanizing animals while the plan was under construction.

Task force findings and suggestions included being certain policies follow municipal codes, something Ewart said the university dropped the ball on with the previous program, referred to by members of facilities and by Autenried in emails as the Vermin Control Program.

Ewart said at the Oct. 18 meeting, “We definitely need to make sure the local regulatory agencies are consulted more frequently on issues that we’re having – much more proactively on issues that we’re having – and to make sure we’re following all municipal codes.”

The task force recommended creating a plan for how feral and wild animal situations would be handled in the future, including an integrated pest management program, which would include animals, weeds or other issues.

Each UI campus should have its own animal management plan and all animals living on campus should have identification tags to prevent them from being mistaken as stray or feral, the task force suggested.

The university has also purchased a chip scanner in order to ensure any animals captured in the future are not escaped pets.

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