Raccoons, at their best, are harmless and even cute, but they can also be menacing, attacking other small animals and the odd human.
They can be even scarier in packs, as a block in Harlem is experiencing.
Numerous residents told DNAinfo that several raccoons were running rampant in their backyards and homes, eating food out of kitchens, getting into garbage cans, generally terrifying small children, and even, in one instance, eating alive a former New York City mayoral candidate’s turtle.
An abandoned home on West 121st Street is said to provide a headquarters for hordes of raccoons, and residents complain that city officials have done nothing to stop them, instead recommending private solutions.
No human has been attacked yet, but the animals have managed to break through a screen door to score peanuts and cat food from one resident’s kitchen, leaving tiny foot prints behind.
“And we worry about people coming into our house,” that resident, Debora Clark Fairfax, told DNAinfo.
Another raccoon—or was it the same?—was said to have eaten a turtle that lived in the backyard of Bill Thompson, the former Democratic candidate for mayor. In the brutal land of raccoon combat, it didn’t last long.
“It ate the turtle and left the shell,” Nia Bediako, another resident, told the site.
But until a human is hurt or a rabid raccoon is found, the city says it’s the residents’ problem.
“Property owners are responsible for removing a nuisance raccoon and should hire a nuisance trapper licensed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC),” a spokesperson told DNAinfo.