Share this article

print logo

Pesky animal invaders driving some Buffalo neighborhoods wild Residents say animal control isn't doing enough to remove the pests

Skunks stage nightly parades in David Griggs' Minnesota Avenue neighborhood.

Barbara Schneider, who lives in the Valley neighborhood, captured a pesky critter she identified as a raccoon and called the city to remove it.

And Ellicott District residents reported finding two fawns when they were clearing brush on a lot on Grey Street.

Welcome to Buffalo's wild kingdom.

The number of complaints pouring into City Hall about four-legged pests increased by more than 130 percent between Jan. 1 and June 1 versus the same period a year ago, according to the Division of Citizens Services.

And that figure doesn't include complaints about rats, which are up 58 percent.

Griggs said his neighborhood in University Heights sometimes smells from the skunk population, and he faults the city for ignoring the problem.

"They've been stinking up the place every night this week," Griggs said last week. "It's hot outside. You try to get a little breeze out your window, and here comes the skunk."

Skunks aren't the only scourge. Raccoons also have been prowling around Griggs' neighborhood. He said a neighbor's pet turtle was eaten by a raccoon as the turtle was enjoying a backyard outing.

He said neighbors have lodged numerous complaints, but a city animal-control staff member still hasn't set traps.

"He's out there somewhere sitting on his behind all day long," Griggs said of the employee.

Griggs said that some residents are so frustrated, they might be tempted to perform extermination chores themselves.

These homeowners have the attention of Mayor Byron W. Brown, who raised concerns about the complaints during the last CitiStat meeting.

Acting Public Works Commissioner Daniel E. Kreuz defended Buffalo's animal-control staff, saying employees work hard to try to resolve problems. He said nearly 80 percent of all complaints lodged this year have been resolved.

In addition, city crews said they recently retrieved the critter Schneider captured and released it in a safe area. But they said the animal was a groundhog -- not a raccoon.

"Residents are becoming more and more vocal about pest-related issues," said Timothy E. Wanamaker, the city's strategic planning director.

Suburban residents are no strangers to critters, but officials in the Town of Tonawanda, Amherst and Cheektowaga said that aside from rats, they have not seen the increase in complaints that have surfaced in Buffalo.

City Hall leaders plan to meet with pest-control experts to discuss the trend. Members of the city's accountability panel mentioned several questions to ask the experts:

How many cages does the city have to capture wild animals? What is the city's policy when it comes to dealing with skunks and other pests? Is the city's four-member extermination team big enough to effectively deal with problems?

Kreuz knows about skunks firsthand. One skunk established residency under his North Buffalo home in March. It took almost two weeks to trap the animal.

But Griggs said he wants City Hall to get its act together when it comes to dealing with pests.

"When I pay taxes, I expect the city to respond," he said.


There are no comments - be the first to comment