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After working as a U.S. Department of Defense consultant for 20 years, new East Brainerd resident
Ed Lehr is now defending the homeland from a different threat through his wildlife removal and relocation business.
“I think this is an excellent market for Critter Control,” the recent Richmond, Va., transplant said. “It seems everybody lives in the forest, practically, and nobody builds homes to exclude animals.”
He added that with human development encroaching on animal habitats, his kind of services are becoming more and more in demand across the country.
“People who have lived in neighborhoods for 20 years and never had issues with animals suddenly find themselves faced with skunks, raccoons and all those things,” Lehr said.
Animals typically seek shelter and a place to store food in the fall, he said.
“Most of the times it’s obvious. People think they’ve got an elephant, usually in the attic or crawl space,” he said, adding that chew marks on eaves or burrowed holes next to a home are some less obvious indicators of which to be aware.
Lehr works to get animals to leave on their own, using methods like predator scents or one-way doors, an ecologically friendly approach his company calls CritterSafe.
“The only thing that scares me is cornering a raccoon in an attic,” he said. He and his team are equipped to deal with any vertebrate, which is defined as anything with a backbone.
Animals are either released onto the same site, wooded acreage one of Lehr’s employee owns, his own secluded property in Dunlap, or sites designated by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for specific species.
“The best option for the animal is to release them on-site,” Lehr noted, pointing to food storage and territorial issues. “The truth is only about 50 percent of relocated animals survive.”
Since it is admittedly “hard to keep them out of your yard,” he removes them from the property unless the owner consents. Regardless, he seals the home against animal invasions and guarantees no re-entry for a year, a process which can also be performed before a critter has taken up residence.
“That’s the best option, but most people don’t think about it until they have a problem,” said Lehr. “You can end up having to restore an entire attic after a raccoon or bat infestation.”
In cases of damage, which can range into the thousands, he can also perform repairs.
Credits: By Jennifer Bardoner - Chattanooga Times Free Press