Unusual weather has led to an increased number of complaints about hungry raccoons, but city officials say we’re just going to need to adapt.
The animals are foraging for winter later than normal this year because of the unusually cool temperatures and some rainy weather during the summer months, according to Supervisor Carmen Chu’s office.
The office has been fielding calls about the creatures from constituents in the Sunset district who reported problems such as dogs injured in confrontations. Some people have tried to trap raccoons for pickup, which is not recommended by Animal Care and Control, said Cammy Blackstone, Chu’s spokeswoman.
“I’ve even had them in my own backyard,” she said. “It surprised me [that Animal Care and Control] didn’t come out and take care of it.”
Raccoons can be a nuisance, but the agency doesn’t euthanize healthy animals, according to Animal Care and Control Director Rebecca Katz. Instead, residents of The City need to learn to live with nature.
Residents need to get rid of anything that draws the pests to their homes in the first place, Katz said. Open garbage cans should be bungee-corded shut and fountains should be turned off and drained.
Raccoons are one of the few wild animals that have benefited and adapted to being around humans, according to the U.S. Humane Society.
“Raccoons aren’t averse to raiding gardens, garbage cans, bird feeders, fish ponds — even kitchen cabinets. Raccoons have been known to use door knobs, so cabinet doors are hardly a challenge.” the Humane Society wrote in a fact sheet about the animals.
Raccoons have even been known to enter through pet doors in The City, Katz said.
Also, raccoons can carry rabies, according to the humane society. If anyone is ever bitten, Katz said, Animal Care and Control will respond and test the animal.