(WSVN) - Wild animals can be wonderful to watch, unless they are on your property, destroying your roof and walls. If you don’t want to hurt them, legally, how can you get rid of them? One South Florida man dealing with a raccoon invasion asked that very question to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Robert Verdile: “Connie Francis number one. She lives in Parkland. She’s 83.”

If you look at the pictures lining Robert’s wall, it’s clear he has led a pretty interesting life.

Patrick Fraser: “All these celebrities. You know these people?”

Robert Verdile: “Yes, of course.”

A dance instructor. a hair stylist. And then one day, it all ended.

Robert Verdile: “I wound up with glaucoma, and it’s called advanced glaucoma.”

Patrick Fraser: “And what’s it like to live without eyesight?”

Robert Verdile: “Terrible. It’s absolutely terrible.”

Robert cannot see, but he can hear, and that’s where the problem comes from.

Robert Verdile: “It’s just annoying. It wakes you up in the middle of the night.”

It’s raccoons on the roof.

Robert’s partner, Michael, took video just a few days ago.

Robert Verdile: “Just running around, back and forth, back and forth, chasing each other, back up on the roof. They’re up there making babies, I guess.”

This night, there were two adults and three baby raccoons, called kits.

But the animals aren’t just keeping residents awake. They destroyed the roof on Robert’s townhouse, costing him $15,000.

Patrick Fraser: “With their nails, they dig, they dig and dig. Their nails are very long. They’re like razors, you know, like nails.”

Robert says the animals have also damaged his neighbor’s roofs and their duct work as well.

Robert Verdile: “They ate through her roof. They were in her bedroom. She had to sleep downstairs until she finally got a company to come out. This is no way to live.”

Robert can’t sit outside anymore. Since he is blind, he is afraid of being attacked by a raccoon.

He says he asked the city to remove the animals. They said, “Call a trapper.”

Robert Verdile: “Well, that’ll be $100 for each raccoon. Five raccoons is $500. I don’t have that kind of money to spend to get rid of raccoons.”

Clearly someone is feeding the raccoons, which draws them to the neighborhood.

Robert Verdile: “We don’t know who’s feeding them. We have no idea.”

But despite the headaches the wild animals are causing, Robert does not want anyone to poison or kill them.

Robert Verdile: “No, I don’t want them hurt. I just want them removed off of my property.”

Just let him live in his house without damaging it, and let him sleep at night without a rooftop interruption..

Robert Verdile: “We pay taxes for the city of North Miami, Dade County taxes. They don’t pay taxes. I mean, they just come and destroy your property.”

Well, Howard, if you have wild animals causing problems, legally, what are you allowed to do?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “It falls on the property owner to do something. Governments won’t remove them. If you have a nuisance animal that is destroying your property — whether its a raccoon, possum or armadillo – you have to trap them or hire someone to do it. If you trap them, you can relocate them, or in rare cases, you can euthanize them, but it must be done humanely.”

The state of Florida has websites listing the advantages of wild animals on your property, like eating insects and rodents. There are also suggestions on how to get them to stay away, with the reminder that intentionally feeding wild animals like raccoons is illegal.

All those websites are at the end of this Help Me Howard story.

Robert Verdile: “I’m just tired of the raccoons.”

Tired of repairing his property. Tired of the pitter patter of raccoon paws on his roof.

Robert Verdile: “I would like to have them removed, put in a cage and relocated someplace else.”

Wanna trap some raccoons for Robert and relocate them? Let us know.

An animal expert told me, instead of trapping the raccoons, catch the neighbor feeding them. If you stop putting out food, the animals will move on.

Or, if it’s a neighbor feeding cats, pick up the food after the cats eat so the raccoons are not attracted to the area. People can solve the problem, but people can also create the problem.

Something got you feeling trapped? Don’t play possum. Relocate the problem with us, and set us free to help you.


FWC Link to Living with Raccoons

FWC Link to Living with Armadillos

FWC Link to Living with Opossums

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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