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Frustrated Residents: Raccoons Slowly Taking Over New York City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A turf battle of sorts is taking place in some neighborhoods.

Raccoons are invading.

They're getting into garbage cans, backyards and even breaking into homes. And what's more, these resourceful raccoons are outsmarting the most determined of trappers, CBS 2's Dave Carlin reported.

Clinton Hill, Brooklyn resident Susan DeBrango snapped pictures of the suspects, their faces masked, trying to get inside her home.

"They are adorable but not in your backyard when they impact your life," DeBrango said. "When he saw at me he stood up on two legs and hissed at me."

They are getting more brazen on Washington Avenue, rummaging through trash, and running right up to neighbors. One even went face-to-face with Barbara Mattocks on her own front stoop.

"I don't want that feeling ever again. I was petrified," Mattocks said.

It's gotten so bad, one 3-year-old Maltese named 'Snowball,' who used to love to play outside, is now a prisoner in his own home, according to his owner.

"He refuses to go out in the yard," Mattocks said.

Neighbors said they called 3-1-1 but were told the city will not respond unless the raccoons appear disoriented and potentially rabid. So, the residents chipped in for the services of a humane trapper. However, in three weeks of setting out cat food in cages not a single raccoon was caught.

Raccoon experts said they are not surprised.

"They are extremely intelligent animals. In terms of trying to trap them, once they've been trapped once they'll know not to go in that trap again," said Rich Weddle of the Animal Husbandry Department at Liberty Science Center.

Weddle said raccoons can spread rabies and distemper, which is a concern for dogs, not to mention parasites, fleas and ticks.

"Some child or some person is going to have to get attacked. Maybe somebody's pet. Why does it have to come to that?" DeBrango said.

DeBrango said she is organizing a public meeting on Oct. 17, calling it a "Raccoon Summit," with neighbors, local politicians and raccoon experts. That's because fighting foes this resourceful means securing trash can lids, bringing cat, dog and bird food inside, and making house repairs to cut them off from cozy places to sleep.

The idea is to hopefully force these crafty characters to move on.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below ...

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