SILVER CREEK - Between the invasion of the raccoons and broken down buildings, Silver Creek Village Board members have a lot on their minds when it comes to public safety.
During the public comments portion of the recent village board meeting, resident Gina Hallmark came with her raccoon headache.
"Over 11 years I have had problems with raccoons. I have a huge problem with them on my property," she said. "Since Petri closed it has gotten worse; that is when the problem really began. I trapped over 11 raccoons in my backyard."
Hallmark pleaded with the board to help her with the invasion.
"I have spent a lot of money trying to take care of this myself. They have caused a lot of damage, and one tore out my cat's eye. They tear up my property, and pooped all over my kids' play house. I am a nurse not a murderer. I don't want to kill these animals, but it is against the law to relocate them. I am asking for help in trapping them."
Other residents agreed the raccoon problem has gotten way out of control. Hallmark thinks it has a lot to do with the old school being so dilapidated. The board said cats are also a big reason for the problem.
"Our animal control officer has the wrong title; he only handles dogs. That is why we have a big cat problem, which is causing the big raccoon problem. Raccoons like cats," Mayor Nick Piccolo said. "The biggest problem is that people in the village are feeding these cats, and the raccoons are migrating here to find food."
"We only have two traps and the raccoons are too smart for them. They can get into your garbage no matter what you do to keep them out. Some of them are huge, weighing about 10 to 12 pounds. They are nasty and will attack, but if you stay away from them they will leave you alone," Piccolo continued. "I will try to help you, but the truth is you have four people on your street that feed those cats."
Residents said raccoons are also living in the storm sewers and old homes.
The old school has been out of commission since the late 1970s.
"Our guys are not allowed in the building; if a guy gets killed or hurt, we get a lawsuit," Piccolo said. "They are willing to give us $3,000 to take care of the building, but that won't be enough to take it down."
Village resident David Clark lives close to the old Seegert's Dairy building and feels it is a total mess.
"The outside wall has collapsed on the driveway. The owner doesn't want to do anything with it. He asked me if I wanted to buy some of the property and I said no," he said.
Piccolo added the owner had removed all the steel beams, which has accounted for the state of deterioration.
"That is why it is falling down," he said. "He has to do something with the property."