Raccoons in Harrisburg: What to do if you encounter them

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Brenda Pollard says a pack of three raccoons is terrorizing her neighborhood on Rudy Road.

“There’s too many people walking up and down the street. These raccoons are out in the daytime. There were times that I came home, I couldn’t get in my front door because they’re laying across my front door,” Pollard said.

Pollard tried calling animal control but was told there’s nothing they can do.  

“The game commission doesn’t really do anything about this because they don’t get your tax dollars. Harrisburg city focuses on dogs and cats and we focus on wildlife,” said George McEntee, a wildlife control agent with Nuisance Wildlife.

McEntee says the raccoons are likely out for food.

“You wouldn’t have three sick animals traveling together,” McEntee said. “Usually if you have a sick animal, it’s by itself. It just sounds to me like they’re used to getting food from somebody’s porch.”

Judy Mason says the raccoons sometimes hide under bushes and cars.

“They came right up to my mother’s front step. Three of them just sat there. We couldn’t leave the house if we wanted to,” Mason said.

Mason and Pollard are both scared that the raccoons could attack someone on the street, but McEntee says it’s not likely.

“Usually, people that get bit by raccoons are trying to do something to the raccoon they shouldn’t be,” McEntee said. “My suggestion to them would first be to try and harass the raccoons. Squirt them with a hose, make loud noises. Try to scare them. Make them feel unwelcome.”

If that doesn’t work, the next step is to trap them using a company like Nuisance Wildlife.

“If we come to get any raccoons, skunk, fox, groundhog or coyote, because of the rabies laws, we have to euthanize it. We may not take it and relocate it elsewhere,” McEntee said.

McEntee says you should use caution if you see a nocturnal animal out during the day, but that doesn’t mean it’s sick or has rabies.

“We need to learn to live with them, but we also need to use some common sense and not feed them,” McEntee said. “That’s probably the biggest problem is people feeding them or allowing them access to food.”

If you’re going to feed your pets on the porch, McEntee says to make sure you bring in your food at night.

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