Our Animal Services Officers:
- Respond to calls including injured wildlife and animal welfare concerns
- Release animals that are trapped
- Take most ill or injured wildlife to a licensed rehabber
Keep Wildlife Wild
It's important to keep wildlife wild. Stress from contact with a human can cause serious health problems. Wild animals can carry parasites and diseases that can make humans and other animals sick. For more information on wildlife and health, visit CDC's wildlife page.
How to Tell if a Wild Animal is Orphaned
If you find a young animal in the wild, it may not always be an orphan. A young animal's best chance for survival is with its mother.
If you see an injured, ill, or "orphaned" wild animal, leave it alone.
- Check the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website to decide if the animal you have found is orphaned.
- If you decide that the animal is orphaned or injured, call the Dane County Humane Society's Wildlife Center at (608) 838-0413, ext. 151.
Concerns with wild animals
Wildlife can sometimes cause trouble. Check the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website to learn what you can do to deal with nuisance wildlife.
Removing Nuisance Wild Animals
For help with removing a wild animal from your property, call a private pest control service. Pest control companies are licensed to remove or relocate healthy wildlife and can help you determine how to keep the problem from reoccurring.
Coyotes are native to Wisconsin and live in both rural and urban areas in Dane County.
We have received reports in the past of coyote attacks on pets in urban areas of Madison and Dane County. Most have involved smaller dogs left unattended in backyards.
- Coyotes are generally more afraid of you than you are of them.
- When we feed coyotes, they lose their fear of humans.
- Between January and March, coyotes are mating. During this time they are more territorial and possibly more aggressive.
- Between March and May, coyote pups are born and parents may act aggressively when near their pups or their den.
Learn How to Haze a Coyote
Watch our video, "How to Haze a Coyote, " to learn how to safely co-exist with coyotes. It tells you how to haze, or scare away, coyotes so they do not feel comfortable being around humans.
Keep Coyotes Away From Your Property
Don't feed coyotes. Feeding most wild animals is prohibited. See Wisconsin Deer Baiting and Wildlife Feeding Regulations for more information.
Clean up fallen fruit and birdseed that attracts the prey of coyotes. Coyotes will also eat the birdseed or fruit.
- Make sure lids on garbage cans are on tight.
- Don't keep pet food or bowls outside.
Protect Your Pets
- Don't leave pets outside alone, either on or off a leash. If your dog stays outside, keep it in a secure outdoor kennel with a solid bottom and secure top.
- When walking your dog, carry a noisemaker, squirt gun, or sticks to throw toward (but not at) a coyote, if you see one.
- Always walk your dog on a leash.
- If you learn that someone is feeding coyotes,
- If a coyote does not respond to hazing attempts,
- If you see a coyote that is sick or injured,
- Record when you see a fox or coyote in Madison, UW-Madison Urban Canid Project
- Coyote Information, WI Department of Natural Resources
We get a lot of calls each year about the large population of turkeys in Madison and surrounding areas. Most of the time, turkeys and humans can coexist. We only respond to calls about turkeys that are sick or injured.
If turkeys are acting aggressive or damaging your property, you can get them to move to a different area:
- Remove any food source, like bird feeders
- Make compost piles and gardens inaccessible
- Spray them with a hose, make loud noises, or open and close an umbrella to scare them away.
- Remove or cover reflective surfaces. Male turkeys are attracted to them when they see their own reflection.
For rat infestations on your property, contact a pest control company for removal.
Learn how to prevent and control a rat or mouse infestation
Call us at (608) 242-6515 if:
- You have a problem with rats in your neighborhood
- You live near a property with garbage or food accumulation that may attract rats
Foxes have become very good at living among humans. It's becoming more common to find them living under decks or sheds in populated areas. They eat small animals like mice and rabbits, as well as fruits and bugs, so any danger to your dogs and cats is minimal.
We help with sick or injured foxes, but we are unable to trap and relocate healthy foxes. If you want a fox removed from your property, contact the DNR, a private trapper, or a pest control company.
The most common call we get about foxes is about mange. A fox that is sick with mange can be rehabilitated, but they are difficult to catch. If you see a fox with mange, and it does not run away, call dispatch at (608) 255-2345 and ask for Animal Services.
Possession of Wild Animals
- The possession of almost all wild animals is illegal in Wisconsin.
- Birds are protected by federal law. Mammals and other wildlife are protected by state law. You must have a permit from the proper government agency to keep a wild mammal or bird.
- Strange as it may seem, it may be legal for a pet store to sell you a wild animal but illegal for you to own it.
Dead Bird Reporting
Mosquitoes get infected with West Nile virus by feeding on infected birds. West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The WI Department of Health Services no longer collects dead birds for West Nile virus testing and the hotline has been disconnected.
If you find a dead bird, please visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website for instructions. If you are told to dispose of the dead bird, don’t touch it with your bare hands. Wear gloves or an inverted plastic bag and then put it in your regular trash. Wash your hands after putting the bird in the trash.
- Animal Services Officer Dispatch
(608) 255-2345 (urgent)
- Animal Services Office
(608) 267-1989 (non-urgent)