I’ve had a long-running feud with the varmints in my neighborhood, especially since they somehow figured out a way to wreak havoc in my attic.

Ever sit in a dark room minding your own business when overhead you hear clawing come from the ceiling? It can be back-of-the-neck-hair-raising!

These troublemakers quickly skyrocketed to the top of my "Most Wanted" list. I declared war on all squirrels, raccoons, possums, mice and their furry friends.

My first step was to armor our house. A pest control outfit put covers over the vents that poke up through the roof to prevent these home-wrecking critters from sneaking in that way.

Then, I did my best impression of Tool Time Tim and cut back tree branches hanging over our house. The squirrels liked to climb up and use them to swing onto the roof.

I put traps out to catch them, so I could haul them far, far away.

During the height of the months-long battle, my daughter’s friend even volunteered to put a pellet in them. She texted pictures of her skinned trophies she used to flavor her fixin’s.

My three-bedroom, two-bathroom house gives me plenty of chores to deal with weekly. The last thing I needed was an attack by these filthy creatures.

Plus, this is the only home I’ve ever owned and that my children have ever known. They look to me as the chief handyman, bug stomper and home protector.

Unexpectedly, I enlisted a partner, Zooey. A a few years ago, my family rescued the part Australian shepherd, part border collie, part mutt from the doggie jail.

One of her main jobs? Fence-line patrol nightly. My wife and I have come to recognize her intruder alert bark.

We grab our BB guns — a smart investment — slip on our flip flops and bolt outside into the yard. We don’t shoot to kill. We shoot to sting. We want the furry pests to think twice before inflicting their damages on us again.

So far, the multi-pronged varmint defense system seems to be working.

When it comes to annihilating unwanted, flea-bitten critters, Yosemite Sam has nothing on me.

Duwayne Escobedo covers Santa Rosa County for the Daily News. You can contact him at 850-315-4489 in Fort Walton Beach, on his cell phone at 850-255-1484 or email him at descobedo@nwfdailynews.com