Trapping FAQ

This FAQ document was published on March 13, 2020. 

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What is the goal of this trapping program?

The goal of this plan is to reduce the population of rabies carrying species within the City following 18 attacks by rabid fox since February of 2019. USDA Wildlife Services, in conjunction with the city of Bath and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, will implement the program.

When will the trapping be done? How many traps will be placed, and where will they be placed?

Specifics regarding the program, including the number of traps and the location of the traps will not be released. USDA Wildlife Services, MDIFW and the city of Bath would like to remind all that the traps will be monitored, and Maine law prohibits disturbing the traps of another; and also prohibits interfering with hunting, fishing or trapping. The program will conclude by March 30.

What type of traps will be used?

Box traps will be used.

What types of animals are being trapped?

Rabies vector animals will be the target of this trapping program. This includes red and gray fox, skunks, and raccoons. 

How will rabies vector animals be euthanized?

Animals will be euthanized using American Veterinary Medical Association-approved methods. They will be brought to an undisclosed location, sedated and humanely euthanized by injection. In order to gather as much information about these animals as possible, they will be tested by the USDA for rabies and other diseases. 

What will happen to non-rabies vector animals?

They will be released on the spot.

What will happen to domestic animals caught in the traps?

Domestic animals caught in the traps will be released to the Bath Police Department’s Animal Control Officer. For this reason, please make sure your pets are microchipped and have identification tags. Animals without identification will be kept at the Bath Police Department and photos shared on the department’s Facebook page. If no one claims the animals, they will be brought to the local humane society. 

What should I do if I find a trap with a domestic animal caught in it?

Please call the Bath Police Department immediately at 207-443-5563, or Sagadahoc County Dispatch at 207-443-9711. 

Rabid animals won’t be interested in the bait and won’t go into the traps. Does that mean only healthy animals will be trapped?

No. Rabies can incubate in an animal for up to six weeks before they begin to exhibit symptoms. Up until that point, they will appear healthy and exhibit normal behaviors.  Clinically sick and incubating animals will behave similar to animals that are not sick and therefore will go to the traps for food.  Once an animal starts showing signs of rabies, their behavior can be erratic and rabid animals may be harder to trap.

Will this trapping program affect animals that have given birth?

The trapping program will end on March 30 to prevent orphaning young born in April. If a lactating animal does happen to be caught, she will be released unharmed. 

How often will the traps be checked?

They will be checked a minimum of 2 times each day and not set during extreme cold temperatures.

Where/when will information collected during the trapping process be shared?

A summarized report of the program will be available to the public once USDA Wildlife Services compiles the data, likely by the end of June.

Will this trapping plan result in an explosion in the rodent population?

No, it would be unlikely, as there are still many other predators – such as birds of prey, weasels and snakes – that will help keep the rodent population under control. 

After trapping is complete, what are the next steps?

The City will continue to work with State and Federal agencies on an integrative plan to address rabies, which will include public education efforts and coordination of low-cost dog and cat rabies vaccination clinics. City Council has also convened a rabies response task force to research options and create a multi-faceted strategy to comprehensively address the rabies public health and safety issue in Bath, including research into the viability of a long-term, regional, oral rabies vaccination program.

I would like to buy Raboral ORV to distribute in my neighborhood. How can I obtain it?

Raboral ORV is only for purchase by government agencies, not by individuals. The City will not be purchasing any Raboral ORV unless it is part of a regional, long-term rabies management plan.

How can people protect themselves and pets from rabies?

For more information on this topic, please visit the City’s rabies resource webpage: https://www.cityofbath.com/Rabies