We moved in May 2009 and were very soon greeted by a large female raccoon living under the deck. Within a week she had given birth to 2 babies. First thought; Oh shit. Followed by my concerns for the safety of my dog & cat, my kids, my house!! We called animal control and were told there was absolutely nothing they would do. We were told to contact a critter control service or trap and 'dispose' of them ourselves. Critter control was $100 - $160 just to set the trap, plus a charge ranging for $50 to $80 to euthanize and remove the raccoon after. It is illegal to relocate these pests because they are very susceptible to contracting canine diseases, like distemper, and can transmit them to other wild animals. At that time we took to other means of deterring them from staying on our property. We put ammonia soaked rags under the deck, we sprinkled cayenne pepper on the ground where they entered and exited, and every time we saw one we went out to make noise and throw rocks and sticks at them. For a while that worked... we thought. Then in 2010 we were woken up to the sound of Izzy fighting with a raccoon IN THE HOUSE. They had discovered the doggie door and came in to help themselves to cat food. Imagine hearing the sounds in this video (skip to 1:49) at 3 am in the house. All the cute was gone. They became more confrontational and would charge the dog regularly. They had cornered our cat Butterscotch and we had to rescue her. To top it off they reached into our coop and killed one of our chickens. Again we were able to persuade them to keep out of our yard after a few months of keeping after them.
The only explanation I can come up with for the sudden increase in activity this year is that someone in our neighborhood is feeding them. I am sure that their experience was more like you see in this video, so what is the problem? Wild animals like to live near their food source. When they move into residential neighborhoods they make their homes in people's attics and crawl spaces potentially causing thousands of dollars in damage. Our experiences have been with much more aggressive and bold raccoons. So, no more Mrs. Nice Hippy.
Had my fellow neighbors followed the guidelines set by the Oregon department of fish and wildlife this situation could have been avoided. That wasn't the case. I was unaware that people had a positive view of these rats, considering the dangers they posses, but I was wrong. I think people remember the mischievous & talkative, but harmless creatures from The Great Outdoors movie. Wouldn't it be great if that were true?