Friday, February 06, 2009

Raccoons Invade White House!

The other night a raccoon opened the window on our third-floor bathroom to get out of the cold night weather--"thud." When I went up, the intruder scampered out, leaving an open window that he had managed to unlatch. The next day, I took myself to Strossnider's Hardware to buy a couple of sliding hook latches that were supposedly more raccoon resistant (can't say "proof" with raccoons).

So, it was reassuring to read in this morning's paper that the White House is facing its own version of our problem. Today's paper failed to note that it is against the law to kill a raccoon, which means that each time a trapper relocates a critter to Rock Creek Park for a fee of a couple of hundred bucks, the animal just needs to wander back to generate another service call, and another fee. Our friends from Chicago told us that when a neighbor of his once found a family of raccoons living in the attic, he killed them all with a baseball bat...another difference between Chicagoans and Washingtonians:
President Obama mocked the Washington area's Defcon 1 response to a few snowflakes last week. Let's see how the flinty Chicagoan does with the latest living-in-Washington challenge: critters.

With permission from the Secret Service, the National Park Service has been in hot pursuit of a pack of raccoons spotted roaming the manicured grounds near the White House, a spokesman said.

Masked bandits scurrying through Washington aren't news to the seasoned trappers who have made a handsome living relocating varmints from attics, crawl spaces and chimneys in homes.

"One time, in an apartment complex, I got called to look into something going up a crawl-space vent," said Karl Kaifes, who has been catching small beasts for 40 years. "I trapped two or three raccoons, a possum, a skunk and five cats. That's city living."

There is a joke at every turn here, and bipartisan humor abounds.