Aggressive raccoons leave Richmond residents feeling 'threatened'
RICHMOND, B.C. --
When Richmond residents like Norman Hopkins take their dogs for a walk, they have to be careful.
"Chances are there will be raccoons," Hopkins said. "You can see them at any time of day."
Hopkins lives in Burkeville, a neighbourhood located on Sea Island in Richmond.
Photos from a community Facebook group show the raccoons lurking on roofs, curiously inspecting shoes left on porches – even basking on trampolines.
Hopkins' dog Lola was chased by one in their backyard.
"They got into a scrap, she wasn't hurt, thankfully, there were no cuts or anything."
The situation was more fraught when Roger Staples' dog tussled with one of the wild critters. Staples described the conflict as a "full fight" and said he had to intervene.
"It took me taking a shovel to the raccoon to get him off," he said. "They're very aggressive. People are now feeling that they're threatened."
B.C.'s Conservation Officer Service said officers won't step in, unless a person is hurt by a wild animal. People can legally trap and relocate raccoons within 10 kilometres, and to Crown land, said Mark Plamondon, a conservation officer based in Chilliwack.
Those traps need to be humane – a B.C. wildlife rescue organization recently warned that some Lower Mainland homeowners have been using leg-hold traps to catch raccoons, while one Surrey resident even tried to drown a young raccoon in a garbage can.
Leg-hold traps can crush the bones in an animal's paws making them unable to go back into the wild, Gail Martin of Critter Care Wildlife Society told CTV News in a previous interview.
Plamondon said residents can also call pest control companies for help dealing with the animals.
Staples said he's well aware that urban wildlife are part of living in Metro Vancouver: his home security cameras recently captured a coyote sauntering through his yard, at the same time his dog was out. The animals didn't get into a fight, but Staples said it was a reminder to stay cautious.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Angela Jung.