Philly residents under siege by raccoons seek answers

Philadelphians are feeling under siege these days, by aggressive raccoons that have--in some cases--taken over their neighborhoods.

"Out-of-control," says Charles Reeves as he surveys the 1500 block of Patton Street in Philadelphia's Grays's Ferry section. "Nobody wants to come out on their porch without looking out the door."

A few months back, Reeves' wife snapped a photo through her upstairs bedroom window, of a raccoon peering in.

"Looking at my wife like a pervert," said Reeves to Fox 29's Bruce Gordon.

Reeves has two granddaughters, ages four and three.

"I don't want them outside. I don't want my babies around these raccoons. But what's the alternative?" he asks.

Last year, Philadelphians placed more than 2800 calls to the city's 311 hotline for raccoon problems.

441 raccoons were brought in to or captured by Animal Care and Control last year.

But unless the critters are actually inside living spaces a bedroom a living room animal control is powerless to respond.

City Council on Monday called together experts and victims of raccoon harassment searching for answers.

Stacy DeStefano of Point Breeze brought with her photographic evidence: a picture of a momma raccoon and three babies on her balcony.

"I literally can't open my sliding glass doors of my bedroom," DiStefano told council members. "Because just yesterday, while I was standing there, four raccoons were trying to get in my screen."

But the head of animal care and control in Philadelphia says there are a few easy solutions.

Trapping raccoons can be difficult and expensive and reducing their population through sterilization is near impossible.

"We have no problem with making addressing raccoons a priority," said Vincent Medley, executive director of ACCT. "The question is, what the solution is."

Back on Patton Street, Reeves gazes across the street at porch roofs riddled with passageways dug out by raccoons and shakes his head.

He attended the council hearing but came away unimpressed.

"I didn't hear no answers. There is no answer."