Officials advise how to keep raccoons away after Fairfield woman attacked

Officials advise how to keep raccoons away after Fairfield woman attacked

WATCH: A Victoria woman continues to recover after she was bitten by a raccoon while trying to protect her dog behind her home. It happened in the Fairfield area on Friday, and the woman says she’s now fearful of going into her own backyard. Luisa Alvarez look at what steps you should take to get rid of anything that can attract raccoons.

It would be nice to only see raccoons in their habitat away from homes but sadly in Victoria, more often than not, residents’ encounters with the masked critters include seeing the wild animals ravage through garbage.

Todd Carnahan with WildSafe BC says the increase in sightings is “because of lack of predators and easy access to our trash and other attractants.”

Attractants that include composters, garbage, dirty barbecues, pet food, bird feeders, fruit trees and even water.

Over the weekend, a Fairfield woman was attacked after having to save her dog’s life from a raccoon.

Wildlife expert Mike Webb says raccoons aren’t typically dangerous unless they feel cornered or are protecting their young because in those cases they will attack.

Luckily for Wendy Varga who was attacked in her home Friday raccoons in BC are not carriers of the rabies virus.

“In other parts of North America, other variants of rabies virus exist, such as raccoon rabies, fox rabies, and skunk rabies. At this time, these types of rabies viruses do not exist in BC.  There has never been a case of rabies in a raccoon reported in BC,” said Vincent Chou with the Provincial Health Services authority in a statement.

“It usually comes down to figuring out why they are there and removing that attractant or changing it,” said Webb.

But if raccoons are still hanging around or being aggressive after you’ve removed the attractants in and around your home, your only other option is to hire a trapper. That last resort option will cost you anywhere from $120 to set the trap and then an additional $75 for each animal captured.

And once they are caught, by law, trappers are only allowed to release racoons one kilometre from where they were caught. Oftentimes, the animal just comes back so the raccoon has to be euthanized instead of released.

“If you go outside that one kilometre, the Wildlife Act states it must be euthanized humanely so we don’t have a choice. If the government said to me alright take them to this location that’s exactly what I would do but since its a requirement of my permit, I have no choice,” said Webb.

For more information on reducing raccoon conflicts in your home, visit the Wildsafe BC website.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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