Tag Archives: raccoons

Raccoons to be vaccinated in Queens, Brooklyn to help prevent rabies

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYC Health Department


Wildlife biologists will distribute oral rabies vaccine in parts of Queens and Brooklyn this month to help prevent the spread of the virus among raccoons, according to the city’s Health Department.

The Health Department decided to take action after the continuing identification of raccoons and other animals with rabies in all five boroughs of New York City. Specifically, two cases of infected raccoons arose in Brooklyn this year. The most recent reported cases in Queens were a raccoon and opossum in 2010. In New York City and New York State, rabies occurs primarily in raccoons, skunks, bats and skunks.

The Health Department, and wildlife biologists with the United States Department of Agriculture and Cornell University are hoping the vaccine distribution will decrease those numbers. Cornell received state funding to pursue this program in New York City and it is an expansion of a program being conducted in Long Island and parts of upstate New York.

When brought to Queens and south Brooklyn, fixed bait stations will be placed in several wooded areas, parks, public green spaces, and even private properties with the owner’s permission.


The vaccination being distributed is specifically for raccoons, and it will help to further limit the spread of rabies to other animals, including pets. Although it is not harmful to pets, and will not cause rabies, it can cause vomiting if several baits are consumed. In the case that pets do find it, do not try to take it away from them to avoid being bitten and exposed to the vaccine.

The bait itself will not harm people. But in rare instances, exposure to the liquid can cause a rash. In the unlikely event someone comes in contact with the liquid, wash his or her hands with warm, soapy water, talk to a doctor, and notify the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

For the raccoons, vaccinating them is harmless, and is used in many other U.S. locations.

Rabies, a viral disease that infects the central nervous system of mammals, can be fatal to humans unless treatment is administered soon after exposure.

There have been no human cases of rabies in New York City for more than 50 years.



Raccoons a problem in Whitestone

| letters@queenscourier.com

I think something that is wrong in my neighborhood is that there are too many raccoons.  I think this is a problem because they eat through the garbage and it gets everywhere.  I think the city should try to find a new home for the raccoons to live. Raccoons also eat all of your plants that you put in your garden. I think raccoons shouldn’t be here anymore and should go somewhere else.

Dylan Denicker

Holy Trinity School, Whitestone


Abandoned Whitestone lot forces curfew on family

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Courier

It’s house arrest come sunset for one family in Whitestone who say they’re being held hostage by a hotbed of mosquitoes and wild animals thriving in an abandoned six-acre lot next door.

“We’re limited to the time we can use our yard — cooking out or going into the pool. Once it starts to get dark — that’s it,” said Artie McCrossen, 59. “The summer’s so short already. It’s a shame.”

McCrossen, a retired firefighter, said the large and undeveloped property — which surrounds his 6th Avenue home on three sides — has been neglected for more than a year. The unkempt yard, he said, has been overgrown with weeds as high as four feet and has become an ideal home for swarms of mosquitoes, raccoons and possums.

“Last Monday, I had four raccoons on my front porch,” McCrossen said. “It was only eight o’clock at night.”

And shorter days mean a fleeting summer for his son, 12-year-old Patrick McCrossen, who said he loves swimming in the backyard pool but has to get out when the sun starts to set.

“I’m getting bitten all over. It’s hard,” he said. “It’s not fun [to have to go inside earlier]. It’s boring.”

McCrossen, who has lived in his home near the East River for six decades, said he also battles with poison ivy and other foliage that seeps into his garden through the fence that divides the properties. The lot used to be maintained and the grass cut, but that service came to a halt sometime last year, he said.

Kathy Dawkins, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Sanitation, said the agency cleans around the perimeter “as personnel and equipment are available” but cannot enter the private property.

The removal of weeds and wildlife falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health, which found the site overrun with weeds during a July 31 inspection, an agency spokesperson said. Violations were not issued, but the department sent a warning letter to Whitestone Jewels, which purchased the five connected lots in September 2006 for $23.3 million, city agencies said.

According to Department of Building records, a permit was issued to the same company in October 2007 to build a two-story, one-family home, but that expired in March 2008 and was never renewed. The land may now be in foreclosure, according to a Department of Finance spokesperson, although it has not yet been auctioned and bankruptcy could not be verified.

Whitestone Jewels could not be reached for comment.