As John Griffin, director of humane wildlife services for the Humane Society of the United States, put it:
“On trash day there’s an abundance of food, a smorgasbord that we provide through the trash.”
Raccoons are known for ripping apart Florida trash bags and even prying open trash cans.
Bob Ryland, a Lakewood Ranch resident, said that he is forced to put his food scraps in the freezer until trash day.
“They [raccoons] turn over my trash cans. I don’t put garbage out till trash day.
“You can’t get nobody to help you,” Ryland said.
He has called animal control, he said, and “they tell you to buy your own trap.”
Many people can’t afford to hire a pest-control company, Ryland said.
He’s also leery of approaching raccoons, which are among wildlife that can carry rabies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that in recent years most people in the U.S. have contracted rabies from bats, not from raccoons or dogs.
Jeff Norris and a state game commission wildlife-control officer, Jerrold Czech, said that keeping discarded garbage off the streets would help to keep raccoons and other varmints from moving into a neighborhood.
And pets should not be fed outside, both warned.
Another problem is abandoned houses, where raccoons especially are known to take up residence.
Wildlife pests are all over the area. “We’re finding a lot in Parrish and Bradenton,” Norris said. “East county areas are probably the worst because there’s more park area there, and bigger houses.”