Raccoons Invade White House, Local Trapper Offers Free Service
Tim McDowell, made quasi-famous by our cover story "Rabies R Us," got wind of the Obamas' little raccoon problem at the White House and says, repeatedly, he will head on over there and collect the critters, free of charge.
McDowell, owner and operator of AB & BE Animal Bat & Bird Extractors—"Solving Human-Animal Conflicts"—is fired up about the prospects. "Everyone's eyes are on the White House right now," he says. "If I had them as a client, what better referral do you need?"
No offense against the National Park Service, which has thus far been unsuccessful in humanely trapping one large 'coon and several smaller ones. But McDowell says they're not experts. He is. "How many of these park service employees are inoculated against rabies? You got all those people putting in all the time they got into it. The government's paying for it, isn't it? I got the traps, I got the insurance, I got the exposure to rabies..."
"I got this," he says.
As for the raccoons, McDowell says with a good amount of certainty it's a mom with an adolescent litter in tow and she may be about to shoo her pups out of her life. "She has to run them off. If there's a male in the litter he will kill and eat her new litter," he says. "If I was to come out there and do an inspection, I'd find out where they're breaching. You got to find the path from the denning areas to the food areas."
This may be news, but it's no surprise to McDowell the White House grounds have raccoons. They're all over D.C.—McDowell says there are 90 raccoons per square mile. And this probably isn't the first time the president's address has had a problem. Prior to the open-book Obama era, however, "this was all hush-hush stuff," McDowell says, concluding: "This raccoon story is going to be big."
City Paper photo by Charles Steck.