BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – What do you do when you have diseased raccoons move into your garage or vacant rental house?
If you’ve ever had to deal with a nuisance animal, you know it can be costly and time-consuming.
One man we spoke to says raccoons have done thousand of dollars worth of damage to his property, and now he’s taking matters into his own hands.
But his neighbors don’t like the way he’s handling the problem.
“It initially started because I smelled something horrible. It smelled like a dead animal,” said Jody Lewis.
Lewis said she noticed the smell a few weeks ago coming from her neighbor’s yard in Boardman.
“Looking around, I looked on the other side of the privacy fence behind me, and there were dead animals — raccoons,” she said.
When WKBN First News stopped by, there were three carcasses decaying in the yard.
“The neighbor traps them then drags their bodies out, it seems like, and just leaves them,” Lewis said.
The owner of the property declined to appear on camera but did talk about the problem.
He said the raccoons have done more than $10,000 worth of damage to his house and garage. He believes the raccoons are sick because he sees them during the day and they can be aggressive.
Raccoons are usually only out at night.
In Ohio, it is legal to trap a nuisance or diseased raccoon, but you can’t release the animal somewhere else.
It’s illegal to relocate any animal that can contract rabies without the proper permit.
The homeowner said he usually hauls off the bodies of the animals he traps, but some were covered in ticks and feces and he left those.
“My major concern is that they are rotting and decaying. There could be disease. I have a dog. We all have dogs around here,” Lewis said. “And the smell coming into my house, that’s not right.”
According to Boardman’s Zoning Department, leaving the animals to rot is a sanitation violation. Workers there are going to write the owner of the home a letter to remove them.
The Mahoning County Health Department also stopped by the home Tuesday and picked up a dead raccoon for rabies testing. That test has not come back yet.
First News tried contacting the Ohio Departent of Natural Resources and the Boardman Police department to find out the best way to deal with diseased or nuisance animals, but we have not heard back yet.