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Foraging raccoon sparks garbage truck drama


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Foraging raccoon sparks garbage truck drama

Officer rescues animal from compactor

By Kathianne Boniello

Poughkeepsie Journal

A raccoon that went for a ride on a garbage truck Thursday morning, apparently looking for a meal on the go, ended up getting the unwanted attention of firefighters and a humane law officer.

The drama began around 11:15 a.m. when a driver for Royal Carting was alerted to the problem by another driver who saw a raccoon on the back of the garbage Dumpster transport truck.

Fairview Fire Department Lt. William Marshall said the carting company truck was on its way to the department off Route 9G in the Town of Poughkeepsie for its usual stop, and the driver asked for help with the raccoon.

At the same time, Humane Law Officer Doug Niederkorn of the Dutchess County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was passing by.

Flagged down by the truck driver and firefighters, Niederkorn tried to help.

''I climbed up on top of the truck. It was a very large raccoon, and it was pouring rain and slippery,'' Niederkorn said. ''He saw me and decided he wanted to seek refuge in the compactor portion of the truck -- at that point the driver said he couldn't do the route knowing the animal was in there.''

Animal wouldn't budge

After failing to coax the animal out or to reach him from the truck's side door of the truck, Niederkorn knew he couldn't avoid the smelly task ahead of him.

''We shut off the truck and with my snare pole I climbed up onto the truck and got a ladder and climbed down the inside of the truck,'' he said. ''I started picking through four Dumpsters full of garbage and finally found him after about 20 minutes of chasing him around in the garbage.''

Niederkorn used a catch pole, a pole with a noose on the end, to secure the approximately 30-pound animal and hand it out to animal control officers from the Town of Poughkeepsie.

''We let him go and he ran so fast he stumbled over the curb, and not even a Thank You,'' said Niederkorn, who by 5 p.m. still hadn't gotten a chance to shower. ''This raccoon was just trying to get something to eat.''

Firefighters at the station were glad about the happy ending, Marshall said.

''At least we got him out,'' Marshall said.

Journal reporter Michael Valkys contributed to this report. Kathianne Boniello can be reached at kboniello@poughkeepsiejournal.com

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Copyright © 2004, Poughkeepsie Journal .

poughkeepsiejournal.com

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