Runners Beware: When Raccoons Attack
There's plenty of advice out there for runners who encounter hostile, territorial dogs: Don't make eye contact; if you see one becoming aggressive, turn around and walk the other way; cross the street; act like you're the dog's master by facing it and saying in a calm, firm voice, "sit," "stay" or "go home"; try smiling and saying "good dog" to diffuse the situation.
All of that is well and good when you've got canine trouble on your hands, but what do you do when attacked by a pack (herd, litter, family) of angry raccoons? Presumably, not what this Lakewood, WA woman did, as reported by The Seattle Times:
The raccoons in Michaela Lee's Pierce County neighborhood had never been violent, she said—until Monday, when they sent her to the emergency room.
She was on her way home from a jog in Lakewood's Fort Steilacoom Park when her dog got away from her and chased two raccoons up a tree. When she went over to grab the dog's leash, several other raccoons came out of a bush and started to scratch her legs.
They chased her for about 75 feet, then several knocked the 28-year-old woman down and continued the attack.
OK, so she probably did nothing wrong. In the end, Lee's dog, an American Dingo, came after the raccoons that were attacking her, scaring all but one off, which she grabbed by the scruff of its neck and hurled across the park lawn. She would be treated at a local hospital for 16 puncture wounds, "into which hospital members injected antibiotics." Two wounds, one on her arm and one on her leg, required staples. Lucky for Lee, Puget Sound-area raccoons rarely have rabies.
Now that's scary. It reminds me of the doll from Child's Play—something that should be harmless, cute even, going ballistic and trying to eat you? I'd take a brush with something predictable like a crazed rotweiller, given the choice. Local wildlife experts assured readers of The Seattle Times that there have been no other problems, prior or since, with the local raccoon populace. Still, from now on, Lee is running with bear mace. And given the entirely bizarre-o, crazy, end-of-the-world nature of the attack (and the fact that raccoons are overrunning urban areas and it's making them smarter), it might not be a bad idea for you to do the same. These are dark days, indeed.