Rescue for Raccoons Trapped in Dumpster

What looked like easy pickings inside a dumpster at a Grantville recycling plant turned into a deep problem when two raccoons found they couldn’t get back out. Even worse, the wild animals ran the risk of being crushed if they weren’t discovered.

Fortunately, someone spied the young raccoons in the container Wednesday and called County Animal Services. Animal Control Officer Angela Jones used her rescue equipment to get them out safely.

raccoon_rescue-002“Usually wild animals like these tend to hide deep in the dumpster debris when people come around,” said County Animal Services Lieutenant Mitchell Levy. “Luckily, someone noticed before they were crushed.”

The twin raccoons were healthy and uninjured so Jones took them several blocks away to the San Diego River and released them back into the wild.

County Animal Services is usually associated with cats and dogs but it rescues all kinds of wildlife, too. Raccoons and opossums in dumpsters are relatively common but animal control officers also rescue coyotes, skunks and an occasional bobcat in trouble. If they are sick or injured, they’re taken to Project Wildlife or Fund for Animals.raccoons_tree-002

If they’re healthy, animal control officers will relocate them nearby so they’re in a familiar habitat and know how to find food and water.

If you find a raccoon or opossum trapped inside a dumpster, County Animal Services says you can place a large piece of debris or other item inside the dumpster to act as a ladder and the animals will often climb out on their own. An old blanket will work too but make sure it is tied to the outside of the dumpster so the animals don’t simply pull it inside.

You can also call County Animal Services at (619) 767-2675 and it will help or refer you to someone in your jurisdiction who can rescue the animal.

Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact