PLEASANT VIEW, Utah -- The city of Pleasant View has passed a new ordinance allowing residents to shoot raccoons, as long as the animals are on the resident’s property.
Dewey Dipoma has been trapping raccoons in his back yard for years. His record is 27 in one season. He said he's trying to protect his gardens, as well as himself.
"They will frequently come in and pull up newly planted tomatoes, flowers, bulbs, whatever," Dipoma said. “They carry a roundworm, a parasitic roundworm that can potentially be fatal."
In the past, the city’s animal control officer would pick up the live raccoons and euthanize them. However, last year Pleasant View stopped providing that service.
"They are mainly concerned with the dogs and the cats and the domestic animals, they don't have time or expertise to deal with the raccoons," said City Councilman Steven Gibson.
This new ordinance gives residents the legal right to deal with the raccoons on their own.
"It gives me another option; certainly it gives other people options," Dipoma said.
Neighbor Ed Summers said when it comes to raccoons, he’ll do what’s necessary to defend his home.
“At one time we also had them coming down our chimney and we had a problem there a few years ago,” Summers said. “I have no problem shooting them if it’s done in a safe way.”
Gibson said safety was a huge focal point when approving this ordinance. Residents must keep the gunfire within their property and are only expected to shoot the raccoons once they’ve been trapped.
"I know that I have a gun and I have to be responsible for where that bullet goes," Gibson said. “This is not just open carry, hunt in your backyard, and do whatever you want to do."
Resident Tom Shupe said if you have kids and hear gunfire coming from a neighbor’s yard, it’s hard not to worry.
“If the neighbor is shooting wildly I definitely would be concerned,” Shupe said. “I have three kids, and that would be a concern of mine seeing my neighbor wandering around the backyard with a gun.”
The Humane Society of Utah released this statement regarding Pleasant View’s new ordinance:
"The shooting of raccoons by residents is an inhumane solution…The Humane Society of Utah recommends that residents use non-lethal prevention techniques to keep raccoons out of their yard… We feel the city is turning over its responsibility to protect the public and deal with the issue by telling residents to try and resolve the matter themselves."
Pleasant View officials said their hands are tied. Under the state law, once you trap a raccoon you are not allowed to take it somewhere else and let it go.
"They're cute, but when they grow up they're vicious, very destructive,” Gibson said. "We have to do something to help control the population."