Animal Expert Loves Work Of Capturing ‘Problem Wildlife’

By Dave Carey
BALTIMORE, MD–Have an owl stuck in the chimney? A squirrel nest in the attic? For Tom Scollins, dealing with those critters is just another day at the office.

Animal control specialist Scollins started TS Wildlife Control more than seven years ago to break away from the rut of his 9-5 job. A former reptile keeper at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, and graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in zoology, Scollins specializes in “humane solutions for problem wildlife,” taking trapped or injured animals out of houses or problematic locations.

“Well, I’ve always worked with wildlife one way or another,” said Scollins, a 33-year-old resident of Rogers Forge. “I reached a point in my life where I wanted to be my own boss, and there certainly is a need for [animal control] in the area.”

Whether it’s a snake, bat, bird, groundhog, opossum, raccoon, skunk, snake or squirrel, Scollins has an answer. Running TS Wildlife Control by himself as a 24-7 operation, there is no rhyme or reason to when calls for taking care of unwelcome visitors will come in. When on the job, however, Scollins prides himself on never killing or harming the animal that he is working with. Glue boards or kill traps are detested methods of capture, and euthanasia is only utilized when absolutely necessary on unreleasable animals.

“He’s one of the leading people in working with wildlife in Maryland and working humanely with the wildlife,” said Frank Branchini, executive director of the Humane Society of Baltimore County. “There aren’t a lot of people that work with wildlife that handly it respectfully, and he really stands out in that regard.”

To Scollins, handling each job calmly and with professionalism is a key to his service. Last week, Scollins pulled a barn owl out of a chimney in Randallstown. His cool demeanor and handling of the situation impressed his clients.

“It was pretty amazing because the owl was pretty good size,” said Dante Howard, the 31-year-old in whose chimney the owl was residing. “He was very careful with the owl, and he was so cool with it that it made me cool to be around it.”

While he’ll never make the big bucks as a wildlife control expert, Scollins, who is earning about $45,000 a year, said he loves every day of his job.

“I enjoy the unpredictability. Some days not a lot is going on, other days I’m running ragged.”