DEAR JOAN: I’m writing to you on behalf of my neighbor. He has squirrels in his attic. How can he get rid of them? They are chewing and creating a lot of damage.
Gloria, Bay Area
DEAR GLORIA: Squirrels in the attic is a serious issue. They are relentless chewers, which can cause a lot of damage and even spark fires if they start in on the electrical wires.
The best way to get squirrels out of the attic is to trap them using a live trap. He can buy traps at most pet supply stores, at feed stores or online. Make sure to get the ones sized for squirrels, not bears.
The traps should be positioned in out-of-the-way spots in the attic and baited with something tasty, such as nuts, peanut butter, crackers or apple slices. Check the traps every day.
State law requires us to either kill animals or release them on the property where they were trapped. In this case, your neighbor would carry the trap down and release the squirrel in his yard.
Obviously, the squirrel is going to run right back into the attic, so it’s important to seal off entrances before releasing the squirrels. This can be tricky if there are lots of squirrels up there. You don’t want to seal them inside with no escape, nor leave things open for them to return.
Your neighbor could seal all but one of the entrance holes, fitting that one with a one-way door.
He should also be aware that this time of the year, there could be newborns in the attic. If that’s the case, he should wait until the babies are older to evict them.
Depending on your neighbor’s age and abilities, it might be simpler to seek help from an animal control specialist. I’d only ask that he hire someone who won’t poison or euthanize the squirrels but will release them. No living creature should die just trying to find a home.
DEAR JOAN: My best friend died peacefully last night.
We first met 8 years ago when someone dumped him on Morgan Territory Road. I spotted him running along the road in a panic, so scared that when I cornered all 10 pounds of him he repeatedly tried to bite.
He was not neutered, had no collar or microchip, was obviously an old man with tartar-covered teeth. I took him to the vet the next day and quickly he began to trust me.
A search for an owner turned up nothing. I named him Buddy.
I run a small nonprofit that offers educational programs featuring permanently injured wild birds. Buddy spent his nights comfy in our house, keeping our Dalmatian in line, and during the day he was the boss in the bird work center, not missing a beat at the sight of an owl or raven.
He accepted the kitty that also was left on the road and even ignored the wild turkeys and crows that frequent our property. But most of all, he never left my side, waking from a deep sleep to check on me every time I left the room.
I’m writing this just to let people know how wonderful and loyal a rescue dog can be. They never forget that you offered them love and a safe home.
Elaine Friedman, Bay Area
DEAR ELAINE: A fine tribute to a fine dog, and a message of love to share. Thank you.
How do I evict the squirrels from my attic?