Honey, we’ve got raccoons

On Monday, my City Council member made headlines with a new law requiring the city to catch and remove raccoons upon request. I’ve never given much thought to the masked critters, but a quick poll revealed some dramatic reactions:

• Fear: My girlfriend was living in Park Slope in 2008 when she heard a late-night scratching at the door. “I was really scared that someone was trying to get into the apartment,” she told me. “Then I realized it was probably an animal and I opened the inner door. I saw a gigantic raccoon hanging onto the screen. God, I screamed so loud.”

• Denial: Midwood resident Sandy Aboulafia told me that raccoons had been photographed in her backyard. “So you have to live on Ocean Parkway, pay high rents, and have raccoons drinking from your swimming pool?” She doesn’t think raccoons deserve one square-foot of city real estate. “Don’t give me this stuff that they’re wildlife. If they can kill geese to keep them from flying into airplanes, they can kill raccoons too.”

• Acceptance: Tony Sfinarolakis lives near the scene of my girlfriend’s encounter, so I asked what he’d do if a raccoon came knocking. “I’d stay away from it and try not to catch rabies,” he said. My girlfriend thought Tony had the right approach. “I understand why people are scared,” she said. “They’re big animals for New York, and they have beady little eyes. But it’s just a raccoon, and it has every right to be here.”

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One Response to Honey, we’ve got raccoons

  1. Amy Stretten says:

    Hey Patrick!

    I enjoyed the three-part structure of your piece. It made it very easy and interesting to read. And, I think the structure helped you make it short and sweet, but share some great actualities, too.


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