Governments' Lighter Side

Sewer workers to the rescue

They free a baby raccoon stuck in a manhole cover

When a baby raccoon got stuck — head-first sticking out of a sewer grate — Dearborn Heights, Mich., sewer workers took on a new role as animal rescuers, according to the Detroit Free Press. Using a combination of vegetable oil and dish soap, workers freed the raccoon. Then they gave it a bath.

The raccoon was already in a tight fit when it was spotted last week by the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW) director, who spied the trapped animal from his front yard. The raccoon apparently got stuck trying to crawl out of a storm drain.

It was a hot summer day and the raccoon was clearly in distress. The DPW director sent out an emergency call for help.

Three DPW workers responded, carefully removing the sewer grate. Then they set about prying loose the raccoon, “with a quantity of vegetable oil and dish soap… and a little TLC,” according to a press release from the city.

The gooey mixture worked, and they got the raccoon out. But, remember, it was a summer day, and the raccoon was coated in oil and soap. “The furry friend was freed and placed in a cage for a trip to the DPW yard for a much-needed shower,” according to the press release.

After the raccoon was spick-and-span again, workers released the animal into a nearby wooded area — presumably to explain to credulous parents where it had been all day. The sewer workers’ exploits earned a that-a-boy from Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko. “It’s gratifying to see the care these employees take to ensure all our residents have a great city to live, work and play in,” he said.  

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What's Governments' Lighter Side?

It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.


Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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