Raccoons worry Woodhaven resident

Elaine Bauman is afraid to let her nephew’s children out in her backyard.
“They are out there today and they are increasing,” she said. “They are wild animals.”
What has Bauman worried is raccoons, the omnivorous mammals that could be found digging through trash cans for food.
“Raccoons are territorial; they are not migratory,” Bauman, 62, said during a Woodhaven town hall meeting on July 14. “These two babies do not know there are 250 acres of park a block away from us.”
Bauman lives in Woodhaven near Forest Park. Raccoons usually live in wooded areas near water, but they have also made their home in the area around Bauman’s residence as well as in cities and suburbs across the country.
The city has not been helpful with her concerns, she said. A 3-1-1 operator transferred her to the Department of Health after Bauman said the raccoons have not attacked anyone. The health department referred her to Anytime Animal Control, she said, where an operator gave her the number of a private trapper.
“The private trapper will come and set a trap in your backyard or in front of your house or in a tree,” she said. “It’s $299 for them to set a trap, that’s for one raccoon. If he does trap it, it’s $99 for him to carry it away.”
City and state agencies do not trap raccoons unless they are a danger, officials said. “If someone calls about a rabid raccoon and Animal Care and Control thinks this animal may have rabies, we will pick it up,” said a Department of Health spokesperson. “We will also accept any trapped animal that seems sick or injured.”
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals officials also said they do not deal with raccoons.
Councilmember Joseph Addabbo, who hosted the town hall meeting, offered the help of a local exterminator his office works with. “The city is reluctant to work with raccoons,” he said. Addabbo added, “They’re not cuddly, they’re not to be petted.”
Mating season for raccoons comes every January through March, where females give birth to an average of four babies. Bauman has a wish concerning the two young raccoons that have been scurrying around her house.
“I’m hoping this isn’t a brother and sister,” she said. “If it’s two sisters or two brothers, I’m cool with it. I’m hoping it’s not a brother and sister because there are no taboos in raccoon land.”
Although she got laughs from the crowd at the meeting, Bauman stressed that raccoons are a serious issue. “It’s not a funny situation,” she said. “It’s dangerous, destructive and it’s getting out of hand.”

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