Neighborhood's raccoons harming animals, destroying property

By Andrew Adams  |  Posted Apr 21st, 2012 @ 7:07am



PLEASANT VIEW — Residents in a Pleasant View neighborhood have been dealing with the extreme — geese and turkeys killed and maimed, homes invaded and gardens raided. Though residents and the city have trapped and killed dozens of raccoons, more keep returning.

"They just make messes everywhere," said Mitch Thinnes, who showed us the grate on his chimney.

Three times, Thinnes said, he has had to scare raccoons out of his chimney. They've also tried to tear into his roof and they've "raised havoc" with his garden. The neighborhood is north of 2700 North along 600 West in Pleasant View — an area referred to by locals as "Shady Lane."

Another homeowner — who declined a recorded interview but allowed KSL on to his property to document the carnage — said he had killed 67 raccoons in a 3 month period and that didn't take care of the problem. Bob Watson said has since given up, citing a long-term loss of sleep.

One of Watson's geese recently survived a raccoon attack. On Friday, it appeared that its eye had been gashed away and its left side of the head was blackened. Watson confirmed he had lost geese, turkeys and more. He aired his concerns at the latest city council meeting.

A third homeowner said she had not seen a raccoon in person, but a plant she recently purchased and planted was already dead and the earth beneath was riddled with holes. "Those holes were in it and it looked like they just dug around it and it had already started to die," Kim Parker said.

A lady in Bountiful had four raccoons attack one of her dogs. So they are not a pleasant animal to have.

–- Bill Grayson, exterminator

Pleasant View city administrator Melinda Brimhall said the city is aware of difficulties in the area and acknowledged the city is a popular area for the varmints. The area in particular, she said, was particularly attractive to raccoons because of canals, fruit trees and small animals and birds.

Brimhall said the city is one of the few in the state to assist with raccoon problems. A part-time animal control officer has helped to trap them.

Kaysville-based exterminator and self-professed "Critter Gitter," Bill Grayson, said that once raccoons take root, they can be hard to eliminate. In an extreme situation like the one in Pleasant View, he said the key is finding where the female raccoons have created their den.

"If you find out where they are, you can get rid of them," Grayson said.

Hiring an exterminator for high volume calls can get expensive. Grayson said he charged $65 for evaluating a property, another $65 for setting traps — regardless of the number — plus an additional $65 for every raccoon trapped and killed.

Grayson said it is common for raccoons to attack smaller animals and have even gone after house pets.

"A lady in Bountiful had four raccoons attack one of her dogs," Grayson recalled. "So they are not a pleasant animal to have."

There are a couple additional options in dealing with raccoons beyond exterminators.

Spokesman Larry Lewis for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, which regulates policy in the state on how to deal with raccoons, said it first directs people to their county animal control centers.

Lewis said if county animal control isn't able to solve the problem, the department's wildlife services division on occasion offers consulting services.

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