As if rats, roaches and bed bugs weren’t enough to deal with, New Yorkers have a new pest to obsess over, and this one’s the largest yet.
From the Bronx to Brooklyn, raccoons are becoming a particularly visible nuisance, with reports of the pesky procyons crashing a block party in Ridgewood, Queens, breaking into a home in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and hanging out poolside in Glendale, Queens.
The New York Times reports on the growing problem, pointing out that raccoon-related 311 calls are up, from 2,155 to 2,410, in the past year. It’s enough to get some residents fired up, with Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, of Queens, warning that raccoons could become “bed bugs 2.”
Of course, New York isn’t the first city to deal with a raccoon infestation. The furry scavengers are grabbing headlines in Philadelphia too with local media reporting infestations in North Philly, West Kensington and West Philadelphia. Apparently, the four-legged bandits find the city’s trash-strewn alleyways and vacant lots particularly appealing and are eager to call Philadelphia’s more blighted neighborhoods home.
Philadelphia’s response? Tell the residents of West Kensington to buy their own traps and pay to have the animal removed. The Pennsylvania SPCA only traps rabid or injured raccoons free of charge. There’s simply no plan for dealing with healthy raccoons and the animals fall between the city’s bureaucratic gaps.
But without swift action, the increasingly brazen raccoons are in danger of becoming neighborhood institutions, just like the stray cats, wild dogs and feral chickens already calling the city’s streets home.
In New York City, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley thinks she has an answer to the city’s spreading raccoon infestation. The councilwoman’s proposed bill would place the responsibility of trapping — and humanely releasing — raccoons in the hands of the Health Department. Until then, New York, like Philadelphia, only traps sick or injured raccoons.
Need a solution now? Major Fife, of West Philadelphia, has the answer. Apparently, bobcat urine — that’s right, bobcat urine — works wonders. You can buy your own can of wild cat pee here. Or you could just learn to live with the little bandits. Hell, it may even lower your rent (it worked for bed bugs).