In Queens, raccoons are invading homes, and local lawmakers have had enough. State Senator Tony Avella of Queens proposed a bill on Monday that would change the way New York City handles raccoons. At present, the city will only pick up a raccoon if it is sick, dangerous, or hurt, and Avella’s bill would change that so that the city will pick up a raccoon if a resident requests it.
Avella said his office receives dozens of calls every year from upset voters who can’t get the critters out of their homes. If the city won’t help, residents are required to call a state-licensed trapper to remove the pests.
The senator is frustrated with the city’s insistence that not all raccoons are dangerous; “These are not cuddly little animals. They can be very aggressive and are not afraid of humans. If you have children and small pets, you have to be concerned,” he said.
Avella hopes that his colleagues in Albany will be more sympathetic to the plight of these Queens residents than city dwellers. “Or maybe it will just embarrass the city into doing more,” he added.
Besides forcing the city to remove the raccoons, Avella’s bill provides for the humane relocation of the animals whenever possible.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 27, 2011