Many Woodhaven residents expressed concern about the furry nuisances at the Woodhaven Residents Block Association monthly meeting last Saturday, October 15.
Ed Wendell, president of the WRBA, noted that there have been an increasing amount of complaints about raccoons in the area recently.
“Every night during the summer we’d sit outside and we’d see all the raccoons going up the hill, the mother, the father, the babies – underneath the cars; They’re looking for food,” said resident Joann Bartos. Since the summer she has been seeing them at night. “They’re very cute but it’s not cute.”
On 96th Street between Park Lane South and Jamaica Avenue, neighbors say one house has as many as three inside the garage.
“I’m concerned about the kids there,” said Marianne Bienkinsopp. “Even if they’re not chewing anything, they’re defecating.”
The raccoons are not considered vermin, they are considered wildlife and have to be captured by animal control or the Parks Department. If a resident decides to capture the animal, they cannot release them back into nearby parks because they could be issued a summons.
Residents were told by representatives of Elizabeth Crowley’s office to be vigilant when putting the garbage out and to dispose of trash properly. Residents were also urged not to leave water in their pools, as it allows for easy access.
Being that they are nocturnal, one resident said he shone a bright light to get rid of a raccoon he had in his yard.
Legislation introduced by Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and Senator Mark Grisanti, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on July 15, allows for the capture of raccoons regardless of whether they are rabid or not.
The old law implied that wildlife had to display signs of illness or had to be venomous to be captured.
The new law requires the city to trap and remove raccoons at the request of the public, representatives said. If the animals are healthy they can be released into a non-residential area. Therefore, residents will no longer have to pay for traps or resort to dealing with them on their own.
To report a raccoon incident, residents are urged to contact the City’s Health Department or 311. Residents can also contact the city at (718) 482-4900.