'Alright raccoons, this means war': Andrew Phung's epic battle with garbage bandits
'These aren't just cute little creatures, these are little monsters,' says the Run the Burbs star
You might recognize Andrew Phung from his roles in comedies like Kim's Convenience and the upcoming Run the Burbs. He's an award-winning funnyman, but right now, standing in front of his garbage bins, he's deadly serious.
The reason? For the past two years, a gang of raccoons have been terrorizing him.
A villain emerges
It all began when Phung was driving home from a late night on set. Backing into his Toronto driveway, something caught his eye.
"I looked out the side window, and on top of the bin was a raccoon just staring at me," said Phung. "That raccoon did not care. It eyed me down, like, 'this is my territory.'"
At first, it didn't seem like a big deal. The Phung family would notice that their recycling bin had been opened, and that the pests had rooted around in their tin cans and containers. It was a nuisance, Phung said, but the masked mammals weren't causing much damage.
What they didn't know, was that the raccoons were just getting started.
The battle escalates
"As the years went on, we'd find the [compost] bin knocked over," said Phung. "[They would] drag a bag out completely, and we'd find the driveway littered with compost."
Increasingly frustrated, Phung would come out with a broom and try to sweep mushy compost and garbage off of his driveway. He knew he had to take action and show the raccoons who was boss.
"It was cool when [they] weren't making a mess. [They] crossed a line," said Phung.
He placed a rock on top of his compost bin. The raccoons knocked it off.
Then he put a pair of bricks on top of the bin. They knocked those off too.
The tactic wasn't cutting it any more. It was time for the big guns.
'These are little monsters'
This summer, Phung thought he'd found the solution. He searched online and found a bungee cord system that wraps around garbage bins and clips on top to hold the lid closed. It seemed to have worked.
Phung claimed victory. But the raccoons weren't giving up that easily.
Even though they couldn't get into the compost bin, they were able to knock it over, dragging the entire bin across the driveway while remaining latched.
Raccoons in Toronto are the real deal. They’ve figured out how to unlock our compost bin and we often find a huge mess on our driveway. Installed this bin lock. Night 1, the raccoons dragged the bin 15 feet, but they didn’t get in. VICTORY!!!! 🦝 <a href="https://t.co/HN99VRl1rI">pic.twitter.com/HN99VRl1rI</a>—@andrewphung
"These raccoons dragged a full compost bin twelve feet from where it started. These aren't just cute little creatures, these are little monsters." said Phung.
While it seems the raccoons have developed superhuman strength, there's no way they could unlatch the bungee cords wrapped tightly around the bin, he thought. Right?
After years of battle, it seems like the war might just be beginning. He's not sure what his next tactic will be, but Phung, looking over his sometimes-garbage-strewn-driveway, is confident he'll emerge victorious.
"The moment I don't have to worry about my compost, my paper towels, my eggs, will be a very nice day."