Raccoons are lurking this summer, and Queens residents want them out of their neighborhoods.
Flushing residents rallied outside of an abandoned lot this week to protest the growing number of raccoons in the area. The lot, located at 164-11 45th Avenue in Flushing, has become a nest for raccoons in the neighborhood.
Local politicians have proposed legislation that would make it mandatory for the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to remove raccoons reported by residents.
The DOHMH does not rid neighborhoods of raccoons if residents complain. The department only removes the furry critters if they are rabid, according to a DOHMH spokesperson. “Non-rabid raccoons are a nuisance that do not pose significant health risks,” said the spokesperson.
The Health Department states that residents can control the prevalence of raccoons “by purchasing raccoon-proof garbage cans and making sure that all garbage is always in a can.”
If the legislature passes, the state and city would have to expend more money and resources, according to the Health Department.
Their vendor, Animal Care and Control, would have to hire staff with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation wildlife trapping licenses, and purchase equipment to catch, euthanize and dispose of the raccoons, according to the DOHMH.
“If the city were to take on this responsibility, there would be significant administrative costs to the Health Department,” said the spokesperson.