|I owe my daughters an apology|
At first I thought it was just the girls leaving the lid off of the can when they fed her. After all, it was dark in the morning when I left for work, so I'd not see the can but I'd notice on the weekends that the dog's food was waterlogged. Obviously, the girls did not replace the lid some time during the week and it got rained on.
They assured me that they did and always do and maybe the wind is knocking the lid off. Unlikely, thinks I, but I got a bungee to secure the lid on anyway. Press the lid down hard. OK, Wind, do your worst.
Well, the other day I arose to find the lid upside down, and today I found that it had merely been pushed to the side. Obviously, we have a critter getting into the food even with the lid battened down.
There are some easy solutions and one cruel one. One solution is to move the can to a location where the racoon** can't get it, like the barn. A second is to get a container with a better lid, or better secure this one. I could close the pen door at night, locking the dog out -- after all, she's elsewhere all night anyway.
Like I said, those are the easy ones. Or I could live trap the bugger. Except I'd be more likely to catch one of my own barn cats, I suspect.
But I there is one solution guaranteed to catch only the critter doing this and to be rid of him once and for all.
1) Get another trash can, fill it with new dog food, put it in the barn.
2) Fill this can 3/4 full with water.
3) Throw enough dog food in the water to disguise it.
4) Secure the lid.
Mr. Racoon knocks the lid off and climbs in to get some dinner, only to find himself in about 2' of water and no way to climb out. After all, it works for possums***
On the other hand, if he's big enough standing on his back legs to reach the can lid, he could just climb out. If he's not quite so tall, I'm most likely to have a wet angry raccoon on my hands in the morning. That's not an optimal solution either.
And I'm certainly not going to sit outside at night in hopes of shooting him.
Maybe I'll just move the can inside the barn after all.
* She stands on the deck and barks south, then a dog to the south barks, then a dog to the east barks. She barks east, then a dog to the east barks, then a dog to the south barks... Lather, rinse, repeat all night.
** I'm assuming we're dealing with a racoon rather than feral cats or armadillos or really long weasels.
*** Only it's best to use chicken feathers rather than dog food on the water.