Raccoons wreak havoc on 19th Ward, alderman responds

All of the green space in the 19th Ward, from the Dan Ryan woods, to the golf course and even cemeteries, make it an ideal haven for raccoons.

Some have gotten so comfortable, they've made it their home and have to be shown out by animal care and control.

During his five years on the job, Ald. Matt O'Shea said this is a first.

"The amount of calls we've taken the last two to three weeks, raccoon calls, is off the charts.  Something we haven't seen in years," O'Shea said.

Even the alderman himself has gotten a lesson in trapping raccoons. Their defense against the new neighbors?

Steel traps baited with marshmallows.

The nighttime bandits, however, occasionally have the last laugh.

"They were babies, but they grew so much!" Richard Moran, a Morgan Park resident, said.

O'Shea said the raccoons come looking for a food source. They stay, because they've found it.

"I  think sometimes coming home at night, it's been tricky getting past them because they like to take over the deck," resident Maureen Cullen said.

In another part of town, one raccoon has been seen on top a foreclosed home. When you look inside, there are thousands of dollars in damage.

So far, O'Shea said they've only been a nuisance. There have been no injuries and he'd like to keep it that way.

"They're not nasty, they're bold!" O'Shea said.