A raccoon that was tearing up pool equipment and patio furniture in Pelham Gardens is no longer on the loose.
Animal control took the animal away after it was humanely trapped by a homeowner.
While it was not the first time area homeowners on Stillwell Avenue and Vance Street have encountered raccoons in their green backyards, it was the first time one was tearing apart pool floats, pillows on patio furniture, and jumping onto patios while people were outside enjoying the summer weather.
Neighbors in the area admitted that while the animal was not rabid, it went on a wild two-week spree damaging items in backyards of houses on both blocks. “The raccoon was in the yard next door and people were outside with popcorn watching the Mets game,” said Vance Avenue resident Barbara Tuffarelli. “The raccoon must have smelled the popcorn because he jumped onto their patio steps and I heard my girlfriend scream. They chased him away, but he kept coming back. He wanted the popcorn.”
Dan Tuffarelli, Barbara’s husband, was none too thrilled when he discovered that what he believed to be the same raccoon had chewed on the ends of a five-foot pool float he left sitting on the deck of his pool, several feet above the ground. He also said that he believes the raccoon may have damaged some machinery in the pool’s pump, which is located outside of the pool, near the deck. He showed bite marks in the float to prove it.
“The raccoon is not very big and not fully grown,” Tuffarelli explained. “The first time I saw it, he didn’t do anything. The second time, he climbed my pear tree and ate some pears. The third time he tore up my pool equipment. At my neighbor’s house, the raccoon shredded a pillow on their patio furniture.”
The neighbor, Chris Borgatti of Stillwell Avenue, said that a float in his pool was also gnawed on by the raccoon.
“One morning, I came out on the deck and found a pillow shredded,” Borgatti said. “There was also a pool float that was chewed on but I sanded it down so we could still use it.”
Tuffarelli called animal control and was told that since someone was not available to help at night, when the raccoon was out and about, he should purchase a trap that keeps the animal alive by luring it into a cage with food, then locking it in with a sliding metal door. The cage he purchased, a Havahart groundhog and raccoon trap, worked perfectly. It kept the animal alive until it could be taken in and found a home.