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Roving raccoons are causing problems in Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn. But residents there say they can't get any help from the city because of rules governing the captures of urban wildlife -- and they want those rules changed. Ida Siegal reports.
Residents in one Brooklyn neighborhood say their streets are overrun with raccoons that are creating a health hazard by spreading trash across entire city blocks and leaving behind piles of droppings that host parasitic roundworms, according to a published report.
Now the Greenwood Heights community wants the city to intervene.
“You go outside expecting to see one — and there’s a family of five or six,” neighborhood resident Aaron Brashear told the Brooklyn Paper. “They’re beyond a nuisance.”
Residents blame the warm spring for an explosion in the raccoon population near Prospect Park and Green-Wood Cemetery.
Animal Care & Control, a non-profit contracted by the city, only removes raccoons if they are deemed dangerous, sick or hurt. So fed up residents have launched a letter-writing campaign urging the City Council to amend the law and require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to trap and remove the critters, the paper reported.
In a statement to NBC 4 New York a spokesperson for the city agency said: "While raccoons cause property damage and are a nuisance for NYC Residents, raccoons that are not sick or injured generally do not pose a threat to human health."
Currently, city residents must trap the animals themselves or pay a private company hundreds of dollars to do the job.
“We need some sort of control,” said Greenwood resident Frances Batista, who told the Brooklyn Paper the creatures keep her up at night.
Last summer, state Sen. Tony Avella of Queens introduced legislation that would require the city agency to remove raccoons if asked to do so by the public, but the legislation remains in limbo.
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