A juvenile raccoon had established residence behind our condo complex and was exhibiting signs of being afflicted with something. Distemper was our best guess as he was stumbling about in the middle of the day, unable to track in a straight line. The little fellow was not well. There are a number of pet owners in our complex, and it was just a matter of time before someone walking their pup had an encounter.
There are obvious solutions to a problem like this, but they do not lend themselves to a condo environment where many of the owners are not familiar with the hard side of nature and animal husbandry. As the resident Board member, I am often called to mitigate a problem, an event that 27 years on the Highway Patrol have prepared me for. I watched the ‘coon for a bit, determined he was, indeed sick, and called the county for assistance from animal control. No luck there, as their animal control specialist was not on duty so the county called their best resource in this situation, the Department of Conservation. The local agent, Tyler Brown, was located at a family gathering and called me immediately.
Within an hour, Agent Brown arrived. He was properly equipped with a catch stick and cage and we walked down to where the ‘coon was awaiting his fate after having climbed into a residents gas grill. A couple of our neighbors had constructed a makeshift fence on a patio with table and chairs to keep the errant critter close enough for capture. This was not Agent Brown’s first raccoon rodeo! He expertly maneuvered around the gas grill and slipped the loop on the critter. Capturing critters with a catch stick requires quick reflexes, particularly if the critter, as most are, is not in the mood to be lassoed. The situation was resolved and the critter removed from a circumstance that was sure to be troublesome.
In this day of constant criticism of all that government represents, this story is worth noting. In the best traditions of the Missouri Department of Conservation, an agent who was enjoying a family gathering, leaves to handle an issue that needed a peaceful solution as a result of the sensitivities of a few folks who have no clue about such matters. My biggest concern was that one of our residents would attempt to bring the ‘coon inside and make him a nice bacon, lettuce and tomatoe sandwich in which they had cleverly hidden an Advil to help with his discomfort. This story represents but one example of an Agent who responded, off duty, to mitigate a circumstance and avoid offending the sensitivities of folks who who are easily offended…..and totally clueless about the nature they say they love.
Thank you, Agent Brown. It is the little things that contribute to the big picture and your assistance is deeply appreciated. You lent a great deal of dignity to an undignified situation…..and contributed to a perfect ending.