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Raccoons raising ruckus in neighborhood

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Just blocks from the heart of the city, raccoons are traumatizing residents on South Ellis Street.
And one homeowner told City Council he thinks the burned-out Blackmer House at 112 S. Fulton St. is infested.
“This is a problem my family and my neighbors should not have to endure living four blocks from the Square,” said Don Sayers, who had to chase two furry intruders off his front porch recently.
The critters ventured up even though Sayers and his wife were sitting outside.
During the public comment at Tuesday’s council meeting, Sayers asked the city for help. He said he knows of 22 raccoons that have been trapped in the city, including those he’s trapped and disposed of himself.
Raccoons have devoured the goldfish in his pond and repeatedly attacked his cat, costing hundreds of dollars in vet bills. They are nesting in an elderly neighbor’s attic and peer at her after dark through her skylight, [0x13]Sayers said.
“They will eat anything,” he said.
In one night, raccoons ate nearly 100 ears of corn from a neighbor’s garden.
Sayers asked the city to inspect the former home of the late Sidney and Suzanne Blackmer, which has been vacant for years.
If the house harbors raccoons, the city should declare it a nuisance, exterminate the animals and place a lien on the property to recoup the costs, Sayers said. The house has been a source of controversy as some advocate for preservation and others want it torn down.
A man who lives near the hospital was bitten by a raccoon and underwent rabies shots, Sayers said.
“We need to stop this problem,” he said. “They spread disease.”
In other business
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Salisbury City Council:
• Approved an application for a 2011 Justice Assistance Grant in the amount of $46,012. Salisbury Police would use $33,000 for unmarked police cars and a MorphoTrak LiveScan system to automate fingerprinting.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office would receive the $13,000 balance from the grant for in-car camera systems.
• Recognized Bryan Alston for obtaining Professional Engineering certification.
• Watched a video highlighting accomplishments of the Parks and Recreation Department, a National Gold Medal finalist with the National Recreation and Park Association. Salisbury is competing with cities in Wisconsin, Illinois and Colorado for the title.
• Signed an agreement with the Rowan County Health Department to utilize the Civic Center as a Local Point of Dispensing Site.
• Set a public hearing for Aug. 16 to consider a new ordinance establishing a Housing Advocacy Commission.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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