Last night, after several nights of vigilance, we were able to capture the baby raccoon that we’d seen the week before, struggling to get up onto our upper deck. It appeared that it’s back was broken because it was dragging its feet.Attempt to catch raccoon

Last Saturday afternoon, Rich and I spent a couple of hours building the contraption below and testing it on Pu’Yi, our placid Siamese. The concept was to put a bowl of food in the middle of the tarp. Ropes were secured to the four corners of the tarp then threaded through a hoop. The hoop was attached to a rope that lead up to a pulley that was at the top of the ladder (we had to use two ladders). The other end of the rope went over the top of our french doors and into the house.

The contraption worked perfectly. Once I spotted the injured baby, around 8:30 at night, Rich put a bowl of food on the tarp. Usually, the raccoons return within a few minutes of the food being put out. Last night, however, we waited 20-30 minutes, inside the house, before they showed up.

The mother raccoon showed up first, followed by the injured baby and another baby. Fortunately, Rich is very patient, because it took a while before the mother and the healthy baby bound off the tarp, leaving the injured baby to continue feeding. Rich saw his opportunity and yanked on the card. I then rushed outside with gloved hands and grabbed the corners of the tarp to make sure the baby didn’t escape. I was surprised at how light the baby felt.

Raccoon in trashcan We then lowered the tarp into a large trash can with a flannel sheet on the bottom. We then placed the trash can in one of our bathrooms so we could observe the baby. It was surprisingly calm and happy to munch on the food that had tumbled into the trash can along with it. Throughout the night, we could hear it munching!

The next morning, we drove the to the rehabilitation center. It was a shock, however, when we took the trash can out of the truck, looked inside and saw that the sheet was covered with blood (right). Rich reasoned that the racoon had open sores from dragging its feet.

We were already prepared for the reality that the raccoon would probably be euthanized if its back had broken. What we didn’t expect to hear – a few hours later – was that the baby had been shot with a bullet, which severed its spine.

We are horrified. Horrified that in a neighborhood of families, someone with a gun and an obvious lack of conscience shot a baby raccoon. Horrified at the pain and suffering the raccoon had to endure. Horrified that if the gun-bearing imbecile had missed or the bullet bounced off a rock, it could have gone through a window and struck a sleeping child.

Our trust and naivety has been shattered. We’re going to be more carefully about having our cats outside after dark and we’re going to hope that the other raccoons in the area don’t become the next victims.