California Raccoon Laws

By Meridith Friedman

Raccoons are adaptable animals, thriving in urban and wilderness areas alike; in fact, there is a particularly large population of them in California's Orange Country. Raccoons can cause damage to buildings, gardens and lawns, and are prone to diseases and parasites. The California Department of Fish and Game is responsible for determining and regulating all laws pertaining to the protection, trapping and keeping of raccoons.

Trapping

Raccoons that have caused property damage can be trapped with humane traps that must be checked every 24 hours. The raccoons can either be brought into the local animal control office for euthanization or released into the immediate area. To prevent the spread of disease, raccoons should not be relocated long distances from where they were initially trapped. The California Department of Fish and Game regulations prohibit the relocation of raccoons without written permission.

Keeping

Under the California Department of Fish and Game laws, it is illegal for any wildlife, including raccoons, to be kept as pets, unless you have a prohibited animal permit on file with the agency.

Protection

Although it is not an endangered species, the raccoon is classified by the California Department of Fish and Game as a furbearer and is protected by law against being relocated after trapping or killed by inhumane means. You must have a hunting license to kill a raccoon for its fur.

Rehabilitation

Only authorized wildlife rehabilitation facilities may keep injured raccoons for a limited period of time.

About the Author

Meridith Friedman has been writing professionally since 2007. She is a Denver-based playwright, where she is in residence with Curious Theatre Company. Her plays have been developed and workshopped across the country at The Kennedy Center, New Repertory Theatre, The Lark, The Greenhouse Theatre Center and Chicago Dramatists. Friedman received her Master of Fine Arts from Northwestern University.