Sunday, July 1, 2012

Parents Concerned Over Daylight Raccoon Sightings In Central Park

RACCOON SWOON:  Hungry playground critters are putting Central Park parents in a panic.
A racoon looks for food in the garbage piled high in Adventure Playground In Central Park. Park patrons are feeding the animals.


Masked bandits are overrunning Central Park playgrounds in broad daylight — and they’ve got black eyes and bushy tails.

Recent raids of the kid zones by rogue raccoons have prompted angry parents to demand the city get rid of the furry troublemakers, according to the New York Post.

“People think they’re cute, but they don’t understand the danger,” said Lori Schechter, of the Upper West Side. “When they’re becoming bold enough to be near children, it’s a real problem.”

The raccoon racket started a few months ago at Rudin Playground near Central Park West and 96th Street. Since then, the critters have happily munched at afternoon pizza parties and scampered near the swing set.

Last week, Schechter watched in horror as nannies fed one furry bandit and two kids by hand. She pulled 4-year-old daughter Ariella away.

“The raccoons aren’t responding to being shooed away,” fumed Schechter, who called 311 only to be told nothing can be done unless they’re rabid.

A spokeswoman for the Health Department said raccoons throughout the city are routinely tagged and vaccinated for rabies.

In 2010, a record 145 raccoons tested positive for the disease.

No animals near Central Park have tested positive this year, though authorities found rabid raccoons in The Bronx and Staten Island on June 1. Rabies has not been seen in humans since 1953.

“It just scares me that my daughter has no fear,” mom Meg Heminger said of 1-year-old Ella. “Who knows what the animals can do?”

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New York Post -July 1, 2012 - By Kate Briquelet

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