Citing recent incidents where overweight raccoons have gotten stuck in storm drains and have required emergency crews to extricate them, East End animal safety authorities have mandated emergency diets for the local raccoon population.
“The reports we have read indicate that animal welfare forces have found their resources straining to cope with the problem of stuck raccoons,” Peconic Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) spokesperson Mildred Cunningham explains. “We know that every time PAWS sends out our expert crew to liberate a fat raccoon who has wedged himself in a drain, it drains our coffers of somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000,” she continues. “A stuck fatty here, a stuck fatty there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money!”
A permanent solution, according to Cunningham, is for the raccoon population to curb its rampant consumption of food.
“In case you haven’t noticed, our local raccoons are not shy about coming back for seconds,” Cunningham quips. “If we’re ever going to tackle their obesity problem, it’s going to have to start with a change in their habits.” She adds that, in light of the drain on PAWS finances caused by stuck animals, this attitude adjustment can’t come soon enough.
To that end, and in conjunction with the Hamptons Police, PAWS is instituting a 50% across the board reduction in raccoons’ nighttime raids of area trashcans and dumpsters, to be enforced by police foot patrols.
“Police units have already been established to monitor how many trips raccoons are making to household garbage sites,” Cunningham says. “If officers find an individual raccoon bellying up over and over again, it’s going to be some tough love for Tubby.”
The police units will be armed with electric prods to use on overeating animals, with the aim of safely but firmly retraining individual raccoons in better eating habits. Cunningham is optimistic about the new program. “I think you’re going to be seeing some very svelte raccoons around here very soon, and you’re welcome!”