Animal Control

The mission of the Independence Animal Control is to provide the citizens of Independence with effective and cost efficient animal related services which include; The active enforcement of State and local laws and the promotion of responsible pet ownership and animal welfare.

Objectives of the Animal Control Department

  1. Improve the co-existence of animals and humans while providing the highest quality service to our residents
  2. Enforce the City Ordinances as set forth in the Codified Ordinance Book
  3. Relieve the pain and suffering of animals
  4. Promote responsible pet ownership
  5. Increase public awareness of animal issues
  6. Cooperation with Breed Rescue / Animal Welfare Organizations
  7. Assist residents with wildlife problems and prevention of conflict with animals

Goose Management Program
The City of Independence has implemented a Goose Management Program through the use of trained dogs (Border Collies and Australian Shepherds) and pyrotechnics to keep the population of Canada Geese away from areas where people walk so they won't pose a health risk due to the large amount of feces they produce.  All the methods used within the City are approved by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

If you have a problem with Canada geese in your neighborhood, please contact either the Animal Control Officer at 216-524-3940 or the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
PLEASE : DO NOT FEED the Canada geese!  This encourages them to stay around the area where they are being fed.  It is against City Ordinance 618.24 FEEDING OF WILD LIFE AND STRAY ANIMALS PROHIBITED.

raccoon_thumbTrapping / Nuisance Trapping
The City of Independence offers live traps for residents of the City for the trapping of nuisance wildlife.

Because Independence is located on the edge of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, prevention and management is the first step in learning to live with wildlife. 

Remember, trapping is only a temporary solution to a problem. Once an animal is removed, it opens up space for another animal to move in that may be more intrusive than the original animal.

You may also purchase your own trap, but trapping is governed by the Division of Wildlife and its rules and regulations must be followed.

Traps are not to be set on the weekend, and no animal is to be left in a trap for more than a 24-hour period. Once the nuisance animal is removed, please take measures to prevent the problem from arising again. Please see the tips below to assist you in this prevention.

No wild animal is to be released on property other than on the where it was trapped. It is illegal to relocate a wild, trapped animal. This is to prevent the transfer of diseases, such as rabies or distemper, from one area to another.

Helpful Tips

  • Seal off sheds and decks with hardware cloth or chicken wire installed 6-12 inches into the ground to keep animals from burrowing under.
  • Do not leave garbage cans outside and uncovered. Wildlife love an easy opportunity for food or shelter.
  • Treat your lawn for grubs. One of the main reasons raccoons and skunks, etc., dig up your lawn is to get the grubs below. Treating your lawn in the spring and fall will keep the grubs from killing your grass and keep wildlife from undermining your lawn.
  • Remove any rotten wood and wood piles as they attract insects and worms which attract wildlife.  Keep wood piles away from houses and elevated 6 inches off the ground.
  • Limit bird feeding (thistle works great for songbirds) and clear the surrounding area of loose seed that falls daily. Bring your feeders in at night. Seed attracts many wild animals including raccoons, skunks, chipmunks, and squirrels.
  • Make sure your chimney has a cap. Inspect your soffits for breaching and repair as soon as possible. Raccoons are known for setting up house in homes in attics and chimneys.

Sick or Injured Wildlife

  • If you come across a sick or injured animal, do not approach it or try to handle it. Contact Animal Control as soon as possible.  If the sick or injured animal is a threat to the public or domestic animals and it is after regular business hours, please call Police Dispatch at 216-524-1234.
  • Please do not feed wildlife or stray animals. Feeding wild animals is against our City Ordinance 618.24 FEEDING OF WILDLIFE AND STRAY ANIMALS PROHIBITED. For the safety of our residents and animals, please call the Animal Control Office if you notice any stray animals.  Making a pet out of a wild animal is a very dangerous situation.

Deceased Animals

  • Call the Service Department, Monday through Friday, for removal of deceased animals: 216-524-9191
  • After hours or weekends, please call the Independence Police Department: 216-524-1234

fawn_thumbWildlife / Baby Animals
The City of Independence borders the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We are fortunate to have a lovely abundance of wildlife but, with that, situations can arise from being in such close proximity to nature.  One of the situations we face in Independence is the arrival of baby animals in the spring.  Below is a list of some things you may encounter and what to do if you come in contact with baby wildlife.

From the time they are born until they are about 3 weeks old, fawns are routinely left alone. It may appear that they are abandoned, but they are not. The doe is close by, but purposely stays a distance away from the baby so that a predator is not attracted to her young fawn. Fawns are born with very little scent. If the doe were to stay close, a predator would surely pick up the scent and hence find the fawn. Be watchful but stay back if you find a fawn in the grass. Mom may not be happy about you being so close to her baby!

Like the deer doe, a rabbit doe will also leave her young in the nest for the same reason, to keep predators from finding her young. The rabbit doe will come at dusk and dawn to feed her young, but chances are rare that you will see her at the nest. Young baby bunnies have a white snip on their heads. If you do not see this white they are on their own. They may seem too tiny, but if the white is missing, the babies are old enough and will be pushed out of the nest.

Baby birds that fall from the nest can either be put back in the nest, or if that is not possible, you can construct a make-shift nest with some grass and affix it to the tree and the mother will still feed it . It is not true that once you touch a baby animal that the mother will reject it.  If the baby bird has feathers it can live on the ground. They often fall on the ground, however, the mom will still feed them.

Humans are always a young wild animal's last hope for survival, never their best hope.  A young animal should only be removed from the wild after all avenues to reunite it with adult animals have been explored.

The Law
Native wild animals are legally protected. It is illegal for anyone to possess a native wild animal unless permitted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  A person found possessing wildlife illegally can be subject to fines, imprisonment, and/or restitution.

Again, once a human intervenes, the chances of the animal surviving are greatly reduced.

One thing to remember, most baby animals are allergic to cow's milk and feeding it to them may cause them to die.

For more information or questions on wildlife, contact the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center at 440-871-2900.