Between the falling tree limbs, the invading coyotes, and the roving packs of violent tweens, Central Park is a downright perilous place. And now the News tells us that the place is crawling — literally! — with dozens and dozens of rabid raccoons. In February, the city launched a program of trapping, tagging, and vaccinating the critters, because at times, they were encountering eleven rabid raccoons a week. In December and January, a dog and two people were actually attacked. But the program — during which 237 raccoons were trapped, vaccinated, and released — appears to be working: No rabid raccoons have been encountered in the past three weeks. Still, the wave has left a lingering anti-raccoon stigma. "I've always been taught if I see a raccoon in the daytime, they are sick. There are big, fat huge families up there," Manhattan teacher Meg McDonnell told the Daily News. "It's like Central Park in the '70s when you had to be fearful of people — now you have to be fearful of raccoons."
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