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Brooklyn's ongoing man vs. beast fight

Residents are scared of their new neighbors — a family of raccoons!

Brooklyn Daily
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Residents of a Flatbush block say their newest neighbors are a bunch of animals — literally!

A family of raccoons has moved into an old garage on E. 23rd Street and Foster Avenue next to the Abraham family, who fear their 4-year-old will strike up a fierce friendship with the varmints.

“My daughter loves animals and I’m afraid she might go towards them if she sees them,” said Auria Abraham. “As cute as they are, they are wild animals.”

The raccoon family, a single parent and three children, have made themselves comfortable in their new digs and are now wandering on her property, Abraham claims.

“I noticed them on Saturday night, and we’ve seen them every night since then,” she said.

The critters make it impossible for her daughter to enjoy the summertime outside the house by herself, said Abraham, who claims that the city won’t do anything about the raccoons until one of the animals chomps down on a hapless victim.

Abraham said when she contacted 311, she was told that the city would only remove the raccoons if she could prove that they were rabid or had attacked someone.

Department of Health spokeswoman Chanel Caraway confirmed what Abraham was told.

“Raccoons don’t pose significant health risks unless they are rabid,” Caraway said.

Anyone seeing a raccoon exhibiting signs of illness should contact 311 so it can be picked up by Animal Care and Control and tested for rabies, Caraway said. If a raccoon attacks someone, residents should call 911.

But since the raccoons on E. 23rd Street seem healthy, Abraham will have to hire a trapper on her own to have the animals relocated.

Abraham says she doesn’t understand why the responsibility for capturing wild animals should fall on Brooklyn residents.

“What would it take for the city to do something?” said the mom. “Would it take someone put in the hospital?”

Lawmakers have proposed multiple pieces of legislation that would force the city to deal with its wily raccoon population, but the bills have gone nowhere.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at

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Reader Feedback

Julie says:
This is really quite overwrought. Raccoons are not a threat if they aren't threatened, they're actually pretty shy. I don't understand why people freak out.
July 3, 2012, 5:48 am
Julee from Ditmas says:
If its such an issue get a dog - who will scare them away - they will pick up and move - so not a big deal.
July 3, 2012, 12:13 pm
Rocky from DUMBO says:
If I were them, I'd set a trap, then eat the raccoons.
July 3, 2012, 12:37 pm
Barbara says:
When do raccoons feel threatened. Only if I say threatening words to them? What if I look at them the wrong way?
July 3, 2012, 4:57 pm
Steve W. from Chicago says:
Where to start?
1)Raccoons will take on a dog, and they are capable of killing some pretty big dogs--even dogs trained to hunt them.
2) They will absolutely destroy the inside of the garage, so from a neighborhood property value standpoint the owner should be forced to have the raccoons removed and access to the garage repaired.
3) In general, the predator/prey relationships animals have in the city and suburbs are out of whack, so the general comments of coexistence don't necessarily work the way you would like them to.
4) Urban areas face a growing risk of issues with larger mammals like raccoons and coyotes as their populations grow and they develop a certain comfort level with people, in the face of fluctuating food availability.
July 3, 2012, 6:23 pm
Ann Winters from Marine Park says:
Raccoons are nocturnal so any seen during daylight hours should be avoided. In addition we have oppossum breeding in our yards. The CACC or your exterminator will rent you traps to catch these varmints but you will have to pay for disposal. Like squirrels it is illegal to kill these animals so they must be removed and relocated by professionals.
Looking at the damage to the house in the photo it is clear that this problem has been some time coming and some roof maintenance could have prevented this. The slate roof is in disrepair and simple maintenance could have closed the holes in the roof before the unwanted tenants moved in.
July 5, 2012, 2:15 pm
E. 59 Str. from Mill Basin says:
Top workers from many departments within NYC, I believe, get paid to NOT do anything. On my block, at 2045 East 59 Street, owner John Bellantone lives in ILLEGAL cellar apartment (only egress is thru garage)and rents out the two legal apartments. There are only two electric meters and only two gas meters, so Bellantone must be stealing gas and electric from one tenant AND he is not paying his fair share of NYC Dept of Finance taxes, for he is paying the same amt as all other homes on the block do--those who rent out one apt and live in the second apt. Oh, I should add--more than 135 complaints have been made against this Sanit. Dept. supervisor. Inspectors come, leave LS-4 notices, and depart. We wonder how any hands were greased.
July 8, 2012, 5:18 pm

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