The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 |

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Help dealing with nuisance wildlife

The surprisingly large numbers of wild animals that call Oak Park home typically keep to themselves. But as winter weather makes their search for food and shelter more difficult, the odds of residents coming into contact with a wild animal increase.

Typically, the biggest problem with wild animals in a dense, built-up community like Oak Park is the property damage they can cause when seeking shelter. Squirrels gnawing a hole in the soffit to get into the attic and raccoons, skunks and opossums burrowing under decks, porches and garage foundations are among the more common nuisance issues property owners face. Even feral cats can cause issues.

Fortunately for residents, the Oak Park Department of Public Health has a Class C wildlife permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This permit allows the Health Department to lease traps to local property owners who want to try their hand at catching a wild animal rather than hiring a professional service.

Obtaining a trap from the Village is easy. Just visit Village Hall, 123 Madison St., between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday – Friday and complete a short application describing the animal you hope to trap. A cash or check deposit of $50 or $75 is required, depending on the size of the trap. The deposit will be refunded as long as the trap is returned undamaged. The number of traps is limited, so be sure to call and check on availability.

If you catch an animal, the Health Department will dispatch the Village’s Animal Control officer to deal with the trap’s contents. What happens to the animal after it is trapped — whether release or euthanasia — depends on its propensity to spread disease. The Village doesn’t make that decision since state and federal laws govern how to deal with wild animals caught in populous areas.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources offers extensive information on how to make a property less vulnerable to nuisance wildlife in urban areas, as well contact info for local nuisance wildlife control professionals — just visit and use the search feature.

As for the coyotes and foxes that also call Oak Park home, officials say trying to trap them is difficult at best. Instead, eliminate any potential outside food sources, including unattended small pets.

For more information on dealing with nuisance wild animals in Oak Park, call 708.358.5480 or email