By Marissa Perlman

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Area animal activists are upset after finding dead bats outside a downtown parking garage in Sacramento.

Some are saying it’s illegal to kill bats during the summer months, during their breeding season. There is now a debate over the best way to control the population while also keeping public safety in mind.

We’re learning from animal control what happened in that downtown parking lot, and the legal way to control the population.

“It’s an animal that is as much fearful, as it is beneficial,” said Jim Steel with Neighborly Pest Management.

No matter how you feel about bats, they’re flocking to downtown Sacramento. The latest population is near the Macy’s in the Downtown Commons.

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“You got a concrete structure that is very close to water, and a great insect population year-round. It’s just ideal,” Steel said.

Steel is with the pest management company that handles what’s called the “exclusion,” a device that’s meant to keep the bats from coming inside the building.

“We are trying to preserve as many of them as we can, while also balancing preservation and public health,” he said.

He says activists are now upset about how these exclusions are set up.

“People noticed there were bats hanging on the edge of the net. They saw some of the bats, that had been in some of the areas that had been vandalized and assumed they had been trapped by the netting,” Steel said.

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After the exclusion was damaged by vandals, some of the bats got trapped and died. Wildlife Activists like Corky Quirk with NorCal Bats are concerned people aren’t educated on how to control bat colonies.

“They went back in during baby season to try to fix the situation, that’s where it went bad,” Quirk said.

So we wanted to know, is it illegal to get rid of bat colonies?

Sacramento City Animal Control says the city follows state law which says if animals are damaging your property, it’s not illegal to get rid of them. Quirk says the perspective on what is considered property damage is relative. In this case, the pest management company was trying to safely control the population.

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Both Steel and Quirk say all parties are now taking steps to make sure these animals can finish the breeding season as happier animals.

The Downtown West Garage is owned by the City, the Kings manage the garage and operations are subcontracted to ABM.

Leaders with The Golden 1 Center said, “We are working with the City to address the issue.”

Marissa Perlman


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