OK. Now I’m mad.

I knew I was tempting fate, what with bird feeders and chickens in my yard.

I am fully aware that I am in their territory, and they’re not in mine.

I was prepared for this — I thought.

I did everything but booby-trap the chicken pen. I enclosed my voluptuous veggie garden. I built fences. I put my little doe-eyed daschund on guard duty.

But when I saw that beady-eyed masked varmint perched on the fence rail scooping up handfuls of birdseed and chowing down on them like M&Ms, well, that was the first and last straw.

I’ll move the bird feeders. I’ll move the chicken feed I forgot on the back patio.

Yeah. It’s not the Neighborhood Deer this time. I’ve got a raccoon on my hands.

My neighbors have mentioned this oversized rodent. But they leave cat food outside; of course, they’re going to attract raccoons!

My chickens are fairly secure — I think. But these animals are sly, they work at night, they destroy property. They’re the Tweakers of the Wild, sitting around in the dark fiddling, fiddling with stuff — combination locks, engine transmissions — until they figure it out.

They’re smart and tactile, and would be good brain surgeons, except they’d likely manipulate someone’s brain to obey their every command: “Bring me the contents of your refrigerator.” “Fetch me fresh deer.” “Kittens. Now.”

The last time I had to deal with this was when one — and MAN aren’t they big! — kept getting into my house. I tried everything: blocking the cat flap with cinder blocks, cinder blocks topped with huge bowls of water, sleeping in the kitchen and shooting it with a squirt gun filled with vinegar. I tried trapping it and caught nothing but my curious kittens. I was about to buy a gun, but I was certain I’d blow the whole wall away.

Long story short, it took four months of intense grief and 15 cents to get rid of that one.

Johnny Law says you can’t deploy anything with a trigger in town — anything “with a trigger” includes BBs, pellets and probably paint balls. I’d be too afraid of hitting something/someone anyway.

I’ve been told they don’t even need to get into the pen to kill hens; they’ll entice them over with alluring, imitation hen-cackles, make a grab for one, and pull her apart, piece by piece. A veritable bloodbath.

I’ve been told to have a man urinate around the perimeter of my yard. If I can’t find a man, I can get tiger or panther urine. Ayuh.

I was told to put the “detritus” of my cat’s litter box around the chicken pen. I’ve seen them eat that stuff!

Someone suggested an electric fence. But I have a dog, three cats, a rabbit and the aforementioned birds.

State law even protects these things! You can’t trap them, unless you plan to release them in the same area. What? A raccoon time-out? A little jail time to make them see the error of their ways? Some tough love? I suppose you have to feed them while they’re cooped up, too.

On the state website, there are three columns that say the same thing, each titled “Relocation is not a Solution.” The state says relocation is inhumane: “Relocated raccoons have to fight with established raccoons for territory, food and shelter. Many don’t survive relocation, and those that do, disrupt established populations. Relocated raccoon kits are almost always abandoned, as it is nearly impossible for a mother to carry and care for her young while also establishing herself in a new territory.”

So?

It’s “ecologically destructive,” the website reads. “... Relocation disrupts established populations … results in ecological damage … implicated in the transmission of disease among otherwise unaffected populations …” Blah, blah, blah.

Yesterday, I threw dirt clods, fence planks and rocks at this varmint. Chased him around my neighbor’s yard, wearing a skirt — ME! Not the raccoon! — and treed him about 30 feet up.

But I know it’s temporary.

I wonder how good my slingshot skills are.

This masked vermin doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.

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