CHICAGO — Raccoons have taken over a vacant South Chicago house, and neighbors are fed up now that a kitten apparently has been killed by one of the raccoons.
Residents of the 8300 block of South Saginaw Avenue said no one has lived in the frame house for eight years — except for the raccoons.
When they get out, they harass the block by eating flowers on front porches, spreading trash around and forcing neighbors to put bricks on their trash bins.
Then Simba, a nearly 7-month-old kitten, turned up dead near the abandoned house.
"You know, for many of us pets are considered part of the family," Simba's owner Latisha Murphy said. "My kids are devastated."
Next-door neighbor Theo Daniels began to notice the raccoons around June, hearing and seeing them around the area. He estimates some of them weigh 20 pounds.
Neighbors said they have called Ald. Greg Mitchell's 7th Ward office, the city's Animal Care and Control Department and 311 twice to report the situation, but were told that nothing could be done if the animals are not "vicious."
"If they attacked the neighbor's cat, who knows what they'll attack next," Daniels said. "God forbid with school starting soon, we have children that will be walking nearby."
This house in the 8300 block of South Saginaw has been abandoned for at least eight years, neighbors say.
Daniels was told the best solution would be to create a neighborhood block initiative to have neighbors cut the grass and maintain the property themselves in order to prevent raccoons from living there and to "hope for the infestation to go away."
While only two raccoons initially were spotted in June, Daniels said he now believes there now may be up to six of them in the abandoned house.
"They're known to live in urban areas. Where else could they be nesting at? Where else could they be in the neighborhood that we don't know about?" Daniels said.
Owners of the abandoned house have been ticketed for building violations, though the situation remains unresolved.
The homeowners didn't return messages seeking comment.