Raccoon Complaints on the Rise in Jacksonville, Florida
Raccoon complaints have been the subject of several recent news stories in the Jacksonville area.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials would like to explain what the agency can and can't do for homeowners with wildlife troubles.
Normally, nuisance-wildlife complaint calls are first handled by wildlife assistance biologist Eric Dennis, who gathers the information and comes up with solutions that do not adversely affect the animal or public safety.
"Many callers expect the FWC to come out and remove the animal," Dennis said. "But we simply don't have the personnel, training or the resources to be able to do that. It's my job to educate the public as to what can be done."
Dennis explained there is not a public agency tasked with removing wildlife. A list of nuisance trappers is available at MyFWC.com/Wildlife (click on "Wildlife Assistance").
"These trappers do charge for their services," Dennis said.
"Residents can help the situation by removing attractants such as pet food and garbage that could inadvertently draw animals to their property. It's normally best to just leave the animal alone. It should eventually leave," Dennis said.
Not feeding the raccoon is the best advice. Raccoons are very adaptable and opportunistic. If there's a readily available food source, they will remain in the area.
FWC regulations prohibit people from intentionally feeding raccoons. Violators can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail.
Raccoons can be taken year-round by the use of guns, dogs, live traps or snares. They can be released only on the same property where they were trapped, or euthanized. Before discharging a firearm, be sure to check with local law enforcement to ensure a safe, legal means of discharge.
For more information about nuisance wildlife and wildlife assistance, check out MyFWC.com/Wildlife.