Letters: Raccoons are not natural in suburban Maple Ridge

Years ago, few people saw the animals, now they're taking over and gobbling up gardens

Editor, The News:

Re: Residents riled by masked bandit (The News, July 8).

Hopefully your story will help lead to some needed changes to society’s attitudes towards raccoons.

Most of the time, they seem to be regarded as cute examples of nature, whose rights need to be protected.

This shallow view ignores the damage that local raccoons are increasingly inflicting on other animals, gardens, fruit trees, and even the health of humans.

When I was growing up in Maple Ridge several decades ago, very few Haney residents had ever seen a raccoon. Lots of people had backyard gardens and fruit trees, and the biggest worries were slugs and bad weather.

I have had a half dozen fruit trees, plus grapes, in my backyard for more than 20 years. Until about five years ago, I was able to enjoy most of the fruit. No more.

The raccoons get most of it.

What happened to the idea that people should be encouraged to grow more of their own food?

On top of that, they regularly decide to use my lawn and garden as a latrine, dumping feces, which not only have an unpleasant smell, but likely contain millions of roundworm eggs, which are a serious health hazard to humans.

I have also had family pets maimed and killed.

The pleasure I used to get from my backyard is turning into frustration.

Yet we have decided to make it illegal for homeowners to interfere with a raccoon.

Raccoons are not ‘natural’ in our town.  They are evolving quickly in our suburban areas, and evolution towards the type of threatening raccoon in your story may be only the beginning unless something is done.

Steve Ranta

Maple Ridge