Mynah and I were out for our morning walk a few minutes before 6 this morning. We were walking south on 14th between 105th and 103rd. Mynah suddenly dropped into what I call her stalk. Then I saw it about 100 ft south of us, tall ears fully up, lanky legs ready to flee, completely aware of us. Then it scampered very quickly into a yard.
Canis latrans, how I knew ye in an earlier life, killing sheep and chickens on the farm in northern North Dakota. You were my bane, seemingly making our hardscrabble life even harder. We hunted and killed you in kind of a cathartic rage at your destruction, knowing full well we had no hope of reducing your numbers or the devastation wrought on our livestock. Yet now I stand in awe and wonder, seeing that little bit of wildness in our urban society where every thing is in its place or it’s pointed out with indignation.
Watch your pets like small dogs and cats, and your urban livestock like chickens and ducks. There is a skilled hunter in our midst.
* Shelley posted this September 6th to the MyBallard Forum. I thought it of general enough interest to Crown Hill residents, and she graciously gave her permission to put here as well. Shelley is a 13-year Crown Hill resident. She lives in an old house with her dog Mynah.
Some of us have noticed that the raccoons in our neighborhood have been more aggressive than usual lately. There were at least three raccoon raids on chicken coops in the last month (three chicken injuries, one chicken fatality). Just Friday morning a raccoon had another one of our neighbor’s little dogs by the neck before it was chased off (the dog and chickens were slightly injured but all appear to be ok). From the sound of it, it didn’t seem like the dog attacked the raccoon first.
I’m hoping you can help us out. I realize there isn’t much we can do at this time of year because raccoons are attracted by our vegetable gardens, fruit trees, and ripe compost. In that sense they are a part of our way of life. But anything people can do to discourage their hanging around and avoid dispelling their fear of people would be helpful. One thing we can do is clean up the fruit that falls off our fruit trees. Put kitchen scraps in secure compost bins rather than in open yard waste heaps. And if any of you are intentionally feeding the raccoons, please refrain from doing so. I know some people leave cat food outside. If you must do this, please just try to do so in a way that minimizes the chances of attracting raccoons. Perhaps only put out a little bit of food at a time?
For any others out there who have trouble with raccoons and aren’t afraid of them, I’ve found that just chasing them out of your yard repeatedly works (if any of you saw me running down the street in my underwear, that is what I was doing). After a few times they don’t come back. Here is a link to Animal Control’s raccoon pamphlet.
I actually like raccoons, but especially with the dog attack they have crossed a line that I haven’t seen them cross since I’ve been in the neighborhood. I’d like to somehow get us back to the old status quo so that we don’t have to “learn ’em the hard way.”