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West Village Residents Startled By Rare Raccoon Sighting

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- One Manhattan neighborhood is on edge after a close encounter.

It was just after 10 p.m. on Wednesday night when West Village residents out walking their dogs saw something very unusual, CBS2's Tara Jakeway reported.

A raccoon was peering out from behind a tree in the outdoor area of a luxury apartment building on a quiet downtown street.

"I look up and it's a raccoon," said Joel Bass of City Tails NYC, a full-service dog company. "So the dogs start going crazy. They try to attack the raccoon. I've been here got 14 years and I've never seen a raccoon in this area."

"All I could think about was if someone had a little dog. It was really crazy, actually," resident Steve Snider said.

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Snider caught the critter on video scampering down Washington Street. The nocturnal animal has been spotted in areas of Manhattan like Central Park, but is a rare sighting in the residential neighborhood. Snider said he worries about what could happen to his kids.

"It attacking and I know that they have rabies or can have rabies, so it was just really weird," Snider said.

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The large animal was first spotted in the Washington Commons, a park in one of the most expensive zip codes in the city. Residents said they want to see the city make sure the raccoon relocates and quickly, so that the West Village doesn't become the next city neighborhood to experience a problem, like the raccoons that run amok in Harlem back in 2016 and the "zombie" raccoons infected with canine distemper virus that terrorized Prospect Park in Brooklyn at this same time last year.

"I hope that they trap it to get rid of it," Snider said.

The Department of Parks and Recreation reacted to the video, telling CBS2, "This raccoon does not appear to be in distress or posing a threat to public safety."

So while a solution is sought, City Tails NYC plans to send out notifications to all the pet owners it works with to let them know about the raccoons in the area.

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