By Sabina Mollot
In recent years, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village has had some surprising animal visitors, including a lost coyote and an injured bat. Rumors of raccoons have abounded, but on Sunday, Peter Cooper resident Suzanne Silber got photographic evidence of one such masked marauder in broad daylight, as it scarfed down a snack.
Silber said the raccoon was eating what appeared to be Veggie Booty or similar dried stick snacks that were scattered on the lawn. Asked about this, ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk said the food had been thrown on the lawn by someone, attracting the attention of the raccoon. He added that management’s environmental services partner has set some traps to try and catch the critter. The traps will only be out for a week or two, though since the raccoon has already appeared to move on from the property on its own.
Silber originally posted the photo on the ST-PCV Tenants Association’s Facebook page, where another commenter reported seeing the little guy on Monday night near 3 Peter Cooper Road, coming from the fountain area. Yet another TA account poster snapped a photo of presumably the same raccoon spotted Monday night on East 22nd Street between First and Second Avenues.
Asked if the Parks Department could do anything, a spokesperson for the agency said urban park rangers will respond to reports of sick or injured animals in parks. Outside of parks, Animal Care and Control will.
“Raccoons are New Yorkers, too,” said Crystal Howard, adding that if animal presents a health or safety concern, witnesses should call 311 and the appropriate agency will respond. But otherwise, the animal should be left alone.
The NYPD didn’t respond to a request from Town & Village on if the department would be sending anyone to look for the slippery scavenger, instead just referring to online information provided by the city’s Department of Health on raccoon encounters and rabies.
“The vast majority of rabies cases in the United States each year occur in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes,” the DOH says. “In New York City and New York State, animal rabies occurs primarily in raccoons, bats and skunks. With the continuing identification of raccoons and other animals with rabies in all five boroughs of New York City, the Health Department reminds New Yorkers to avoid wild animals and to vaccinate their pets against rabies.”
Additionally, “It can be fatal in humans unless treatment (rabies shots) is administered soon after a bite or other exposure.”
Based on DOH data, the most recent known rabies case from a raccoon in the city was on October 3 on West 261st Street in the Bronx. The most recent known rabies case in Manhattan came from a bat in December of 2016 on Central Park West and 63rd Street. The most recent rabies case in Manhattan that came from a raccoon happened in February 2011 on Central Park West and 78th Street.