JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- They're dangerous, and possibly rabid. Who do you call if you find a sick raccoon in your yard? It's an ongoing problem on the First Coast. We're learning someone with political connections got help, while other people were denied.
Here's what people say the city has told them in the past about raccoon problems: On August 15, 2011, FCN viewer Kim Gager told us, "It got to the point where we couldn't get anyone here."
That's why we're wondering about the e-mail we just found. The head of the Animal Care and Protective Services department personally went to help a lawmaker's mom.
Here's what the city's animal services department will tell you if you call them:
"Raccoons, typically any wildlife, is not an animal services type issue because we deal with the domestic cats and dogs," Scott Trebatoski told us today.
This is what Trebatoski has told us on October 26, 2011: "I think people generally assume everything that goes on within the city boundaries is the city of Jacksonville's responsibility. That is not the case."
So, naturally, we had questions about an e-mail he wrote in response to a request from City Councilman Doyle Carter's office, asking to check on a sick raccoon at State Representative Daniel Davis' mother's home. Trebatoski responded to the councilman's request via e-mail, "...really shorthanded so I decided to grab a vehicle and head over myself."
Reporter Jeff Marcu asked, "So I can give out your e-mail or phone number for our viewers who have raccoon problems, and you could come help them?"
Trebatoski said, "Like I say, we only go out on certain cases, and it's a case-by-case basis."
Marcu asked, "So why did you choose the case of the state representative's mother to go out on?"
Trebatoski responded, "Just because I happened to be in the area and was an area where we hadn't had any reports of rabies before and I just wanted to see. I had never even saw a raccoon out there, but I wanted to see if it was showing signs of distemper."
He said that would be important so his office could identify a possible problem area. That still leaves questions why his office did not want to do more research on a raccoon we did a story about last year, that appeared to be sick.
"It's not black and white. Animal control by its nature is not black and white," Trebatoski said.
We asked for the number of raccoons the office has handled in the past year. They say to meet our deadline of Thursday afternoon, they were only able to get two months worth of data.
Out of 1,200 to 1,500 cases of all types per month, they say officers have responded to about six to 10 raccoon calls per month. We are waiting for paperwork to verify that.
Trebatoski said if you see a wild animal and need help, you should call a private trapper, or 630-CITY, and they will look at each case to determine if they would help.
We also asked Representative Davis about his request. He wasn't available in person, but told us over the phone, "My hope would be any constituent could get help from the city about a sick raccoon. My mom is a constituent of Councilman Carter and I called on her behalf."
First Coast News