VIRGINIA

Raccoons plague Arlington neighborhood

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An Arlington neighborhood is fed up following more than a year of harassment by a group of masked bandits. The culprits? Raccoons!

Residents say the raccoons are damaging their homes, scaring their pets and creating a huge mess.

Homeowner Amanda Amos says, "I have raccoons terrorizing us constantly. They destroy everything out there."

Amos recorded the group of about eight as they entered the fenced-in backyard of her Shirlington condo.

"...I mean, they're huge," Amos exclaims, describing the size of the raccoons.

They're also destructive and seemingly fearless.

Amos says the critters emerge from the woods every night, because a neighbor leaves food out for them.

Amos adds, "I've had them lining this entire top of this fence before...they try to get into my house. They ripped the weather stripping off of the doors. It's ridiculous."

She says she can't even use her backyard.

"If you cut the grill on and you start cooking, they start climbing the fence," Amos continues.

Residents say they've asked their neighbor many times to stop feeding the animals, but it continues.

Neighbor Irma Wheeler adds, "...and they just keep on growing, and they're huge...it's disgusting, and I'm very afraid of them."

The property manager told ABC7 he's actively working to resolve the problem. He says he's hired a company that is setting traps and relocating the raccoons they capture. He's also told the neighbor to "cease and desist feeding the animals." He's even fined her.  He adds that if it doesn't stop, he'll take legal action.

But Amos worries that if things don't change before it gets cold outside, the animals will crawl inside the walls like last year.

"We had to go stay in a hotel, because the smell, as soon as you walked in the door, was just disgusting. You couldn't stand to stand in here, because there was a body decaying in the walls," Amos recalled.

ABC7 tried to speak to the woman neighbors claim has been feeding the raccoons but couldn't reach her.

The property manager says county officials and the humane society are also trying to help resolve the problem.

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