Flyer warns of raccoon attack

There have been raccoon sightings pretty regularly around here. Even most recently in a parking lot along Market Street.

We received an email from a neighbor who lives near 73rd & Alonzo who says that she came home and found a flyer that says:

Attention Neighbors!
A family and their dog were attacked by a raccoon last night 9/10/09 around 10:00pm. All were injured and are being treated for rabies. Be watchful of your animals and children as this “wild” creature has become a threat. Please do not feed this animal.

Update: We spoke with the family who was attacked. Updated story here.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

55 thoughts to “Flyer warns of raccoon attack”

  1. Our little Yorkie was attacked by a raccoon about a month ago, luckily my husband was close by and was able to get it off. He did get bit in the leg though. When we brought it to the vet, she said she has seen many small dogs and cats killed by raccoons. She said we didn't have to worry about rabies, apparently there isn't a problem in the state of Washington with raccoons.

  2. The only raccoons I have ever seen in Ballard were so timid that this is pretty hard for me to belive. I came across 6 or 7 once with the dog, and they all froze.

    If this report turns out to be true, I hope the dog and family are ok.

  3. The racoons in our neighborhood of Sunset Hills are vicious and HUGE, but have ripped out lighting and garden hoses in the yard. They can be heard snarling in the wee hours. A friend told me they use her pond and fountain for a spa, killing fish and tearing apart underwater lights…

  4. I live on Sunset Hill – no problems with raccoons for quite awhile. Thank goodness for that. But having to deal with oppossums – who are really no threat- they will hiss at you but they are more afraid of us.
    I've heard of raccoons attacking but it was when they were 'threatened' by a dog barking/advancing or a cat going toward them. In my personal experience, they turn tail and head for the hills.

  5. Salmon Bay Park neighborhood: we had raccoons coming in our cat door, up the stairs, and onto tables in the dining room to eat chocolate sitting there! Unreal, and hard to believe. We set traps, almost caught one, and they “shifted their pattern”, as they are nomads that will avoid potential problems, and never came back. Scary, though.

  6. Just because the raccoons you ran into didn't attack, doesn't mean those same ones won't next time. They're very unpredictable and they really aren't afraid of most things. If they think they can get away with an attack, they will try. If they think it's easier to get into your trash they'll do that instead. Don't count on raccoons to just run away.

  7. Raccoons are afraid of vacuum cleaners, but when you have to aggressively come at them with a Hoover due to their being in your home, it's less than reassuring. Yelling, menacing behavior, they just watch and stand their ground. Yikes!

  8. Balmont… I had this problem as well. They were coming in the dog door and eating my dog's food. He got attacked one day while I was at work. A blind 9lb dog is no match for a raccoon. Luckily he healed quickly. Ballsy “little” suckers, they would stare at me through the dog door waiting for me to leave again. Yeah, right.

    The way to keep them out (I swear this works, I've used this trick at three different houses) is to have a man “mark his territory” across the steps or area leading up to the entrance. Have them do it once or twice a year. It stopped working once and they came back, and then I realized I'd had that part of my deck replaced. Friend came over and did it again, no more raccoons. :-)

  9. Aren't raccoons just a fact of life in the city? They haven't “become a threat” they've always been there. There have been raccoons on my backyard every night for the past seven years. There were raccoons in my backyard when I was a kid.

  10. I hope the family and their dog heal well. I have not seen any Raccoons in Ballard however there is a family of Skunks that passes quietly through our neighborhood, nightly.

  11. We have at least two that hide out under our deck. We've had quite a few soccer balls bitten and flattened. They are constantly trying to get in our garbage can too. And they are HUGE! When we first moved in, I was gardening in the early morning and out of the corner of my eye – THOUGHT I saw a dog walking passed me…then realized it was a HUGE raccoon!

  12. The raccoons were here before us, and they'll be here long after us. They are definitely survivors, and will do whatever it takes to stay alive. If humans simply open their door to let their dogs outside, before first surveying their yards to make sure the yards are safe, then certainly the raccoons will do what it takes to make sure they survive. If there are dog/cat doors into houses, the raccoons are smart enough to get inside. Once they've found food upon entering, it's hard to get rid of them. What would you do if you lived outside, had hands and clever brains, and families to feed? It's smart to secure your pet doors before it gets dark, and/or make sure there's no food available inside your house.

    There are easy measures you can take to live peacefully with raccoons. I had a beautiful koi pond, full of goldfish and koi, underwater lights, fountains, and plants. It took the raccoons a while to disover the pond, but once they did, it was goodbye pond! Now, that space is a vegetable garden, very boring as far as the raccoons are concerned, but really more productive. Raccoons are smart creatures, and of course will protect themselves when threatened, but usually they won't be aggressive and only require a minimum of respect.

    Of course, our ducks are quite vulnerable to them, and since I treasure these three perfect little quacking snail/slug eaters, egg producers, friendly little creatures, I consider it to be my responsibility to protect them from wild friends like raccoons and oppossums. Does it make my life a little more complicated? Of course, but I'd hate to think that I consider myself or my tame companions more important than the wild creatures around me. Peace, my friends. It's not really that hard.

  13. I just had a family of 5 in my yard at 28th and Market last night. They seemed unconcerned by my presence at all, and eventually made their way under the fence and on down the road.

  14. Raccoons can slice and dice most cats and dogs when cornered, startled, and sometimes, I guess, because they can. Even if a dog does win the fight they will pay a bloody price. Raccoons are cunning vicious fighters with strong kung fu. No matter what breed or how bad ass the dog the raccoons will do damage. Most of the time they seem timid but do not rely on past behavior. It was a pain but I always walked the yard before I let my dog out at night. Just not worth the risk.

  15. I always check the yard. Saw one raccon on our fence one night. Didn't seem interested in my dogs but went when it saw me on our deck. Seen them on 25th NW a few times and saw two going into a neighbours yard a few weeks ago!

  16. motorrad, that's very smart. Walking the yard first, before your dog, is an excellent tactic. In our yard, we have powerful flood lights that come on with any movement after dusk, which helps a lot. Our little 15-pound JR terrier is a 135-pound dog in a 15-pound body. What kind of opponent is that to a raccoon? Our 13-year-old black lab mix who can barely make it down the stairs, again, what kind of fight could she wage? And who wants to see it happen? Check your yard, thoroughly, including the neighbors if your fence has wide slats, before you let your dogs out.

    Cats, OTOH, have some kind of a peaceful impasse, for the most part, with raccoons. Like, “Hey, dude, wuss happenin' how's it hangin' I'm juss doin' mah thang” and they go their separate ways.

  17. We have a family of raccoons who live somewhere near our yard. I see them frequently scurrying around the backyard after dusk and they did come out during the day on the day I brought home my chickens. So far they are ballsy and unafraid (they go through my next door neighbor's cat door to eat their cat food) but have not attacked and don't seem to be on the offensive. They will fight if cornered though.

    If that story is true and the raccoon attacked the family completely unprovoked there is a good chance it was rabid because rabid animals are extremely unpredictable because they're not in their right mind. That is really sad. I've heard that rabies treatment is not pleasant at all and involves a lot of series of shots. Not to mention how terrifying to worry about possibly contracting rabies.

  18. Excerpted from this page:

    “Animal Rabies in Washington State

    Currently, Washington has no terrestrial animal reservoirs of rabies. Bats are the most commonly rabid animal in this state. Of the 5175 Washington bats examined from 1960-2000, 433 (8%) were rabid. Rabid bats have been found in almost every county in the state. The virus has been identified in the bat species common here, and likely occurs in all of the 16-18 bat species present in Washington.

    Other than bats, only eight individual animals from this state have tested positive for rabies since 1960. In 1976, an unvaccinated cat from Thurston County was found to be rabid. The following year, a five year old unvaccinated dachshund tested positive for rabies. These were the last confirmed rabid cat and dog in the state.

    Two other domestic animals have been diagnosed with rabies since 1960: a horse from Benton County in 1992; and a llama from King County in 1994. The llama was found to be infected with a bat variant of the rabies virus. Because the specimens from the horse were fixed in formalin, the virus strain infecting that animal could not be further characterized at the time.

    The only other animals to be identified as rabid in Washington since 1960 were four pet skunks. Two of the skunks were inappropriately imported into Washington and were likely infected out-of-state. The remaining two skunks were pets improperly given live attenuated rabies vaccine.”

  19. I was kinda thinking along that same train of thought……and wondering.
    Still, feel very sorry for what the family went through and hope they heal up fast.

  20. Raccoons used to harass us and our Sunset Hill/Ballard (transition area) house all the time. They liked to come up on the roof, urinate and defecate nightly. I did not appreciate that. Trying to gently shoo them away, using various potions made from everything from chili powder to coyote urine had no effect on them whatsoever. When I would confront them, on the roof or in the yard, they would just stand their ground and just give me a dirty look, as if they were the ones making the big mortgage payments and I had no reason to come crap in their home.

    Eventually I got tired of the routine and decided it was either them or me. I went out and bought a pellet gun. Now when I hear one on the roof, I pop my head out the window and shoot the little creeps. They're big fluffy fur-balls, and it's just a cheap (low power) pellet gun (like a kid's toy BB gun), so I'm very confident they're not being harmed in the slightest way (too bad…) but once I started popping them, they've learned to go shit somewhere else. They come back once or twice a year, testing the waters I think. We go through the usual routine, and a couple of pellets in the ass usually convinces them to move on.

    I'm almost tempted to suggest the same methods be used for the bums on Market Street, but That Would Be Wrong…

  21. Our dog got into a fight with a raccoon in our backyard late one night. It was pitch black and my wife was out there and couldn't see what was going on. All she could her was them screaming at each other an rolling around on the ground. Surprisingly our little three-legged dog held her own and walked away without a scratch. However it took all she had in her because the next day she couldn't move. When I say she couldn't move, I mean it. She was so sore she couldn't really lift herself off the floor. I had to carry her outside so she could go potty.

    Crazy raccoons.

  22. Yes, and no. The problem with raccoons is not that they are clever, but that we have killed their natural preditors. That Magnolian Cougar could have been helpful in this regard.

  23. Its funny. My 70 pound lab mix would probably get f*ck'ed up in a fight with a raccoon, but my 35 pound purebred fox terrier was a mother f*cking killer with no remorse. Once that little stud was riled he was a like some monster gangster from a Tarantino film – god rest his soul.

  24. OMG JR terrier. Growling, yapping. playful, HYPER Napoleon complex on 4 paws. Nuthin' personal I'm juss sayin'! I enjoy them but know my limits. I thought my Australian shepherd pup was a handful until I spent time with JRs. Especially with a JR terrier I would walk the yard first. My experience has shown a JR terrier won't back down from any fight, and if the threatening animal is bigger they go BATSHIT with full on strike hard first mentality. So if the raccoon is bigger and threatening to the dogs ego, it is ON. And they don't seem to walk away when they are beat, they just keep fighting. Entertaining fun dogs but with interesting quirks. Generalizations but correct me if I am wrong.

    The yard we had was fenced with only a couple exit points so raccoons could easily be surprised with my Aussie between them and a safe exit point. That is worst case scenario.

    Funny about the cat-raccoon standoff/truce.

  25. Wow! That is a Bad A$$ 3 legged little monster! I would love to meet it. After all this doom and gloom I have been spreading. That dog is either a wicked skilled combat fighter or a real wussy of a raccoon that is still getting dissed by his raccoon buddies for getting his a$$ kicked by a little dog with only 3 legs. The shame would be unbearable. That raccoon is lucky that dog didn't have 4 legs. Little dog was probably pumping so much adrenalin it could have made me jump the Locks. When it sees a raccoon now does it jump at em to make it flinch?

  26. That tri-dog would give Chuck Norris a run for his money. and then it would lose, however, if tri-dog had a Chuck Norris twin at it's side, that is a match that could favor the 5 legged duo.

  27. The story is true. It was my friend's brother and his wife. I too feel for them given what you hear about the treatment of rabies. Too bad the racoon got away so it couldn't be tested. The account from my friend struck me because there was a racoon stalking the chickens near 70th and 12th, attacked one that died a few days later and the question of rabies arose there too. (Though of course just the battle with the racoon might have killed it!) Does anyone know if the city can take care of racoons once they attack people. In the case with the chicken we heard that neighbors need to take care of the problem themselves, but it wasn't clear if that just applied when they weren't attacking people.

  28. When trying to decide between getting ducks or chickens, the fact that ducks love slugs and snails was one of the deciding factors. Besides the fact that duck eggs are delicious, ducks are quieter, and Khaki Campbell ducks actually lay more eggs than any breed of chickens. And ducks are cuter, IMHO. The ducks waddle around the yard, sticking their bills under ferns and hostas, and then make a really cute sound, almost like purring, when they find a nest of snails or slugs. Their bills do far less damage to a yard than chicken beaks do.

  29. You're joking, right? OK, I guess you must be one of the new arrivals that have so enhanced our quality of life. So just FYI, here's how Seattle works:

    No, the city won't do anything. They'll actually tell you not to disturb the raccoons. If you do anything to inconvenience them, you can be fined.

    Remember, the city and its government is not here to help you with anything, make your life better, provide services, make it easier for you to work, live, etc. Raccoons and bums are much higher priorities than the people who live here and who work and contribute.

  30. The media was just on Alonzo looking for more on the story. This is pretty distressing. The raccoons that have been coming through our yard haven't messed with the cats, but we will now pay closer attention. The house across the street has a pit bull that sustained injuries from an attack a few years back. Who would have thought?

  31. I thought that is how the Ballard natives, the only ones that count, preferred it. No government intrusion, no government programs. No environmental agency making stupid rules that they feel entitled to ignore anyway. There certainly are enough examples of that in the forums. Oh wait, I guess the Ballard native elites do get help after all, the goose gassing eradication program, being GIVEN a railroad line on public land, private use of public land another. Ah, the wonderful smell of self centered double standards.

  32. I am one of the people attacked by the raccoon in this story. It was totally unprovoked- our 8 pound yorkie was hanging out in the backyard when the raccoon came over the fence an chased her up onto the deck, and then attacked her. I then grabbed the raccoon by the neck, and my husband heard the commotion and came out and threw it across the lawn, at which point it doubled back and bit me on the leg. My husband then hit it on the head with a flashlight, and it ran away.
    The flashlight was out becuase I check the yard for predators every night before leting the dog out. Didn't help.
    My husband got 20 shots (they have to infiltrate the wound with immunoglobulin) and I got about 10. We have to get four more rounds of shots over the next few weeks (but not as many every time). The dog was vaccinated, so she only got one shot.
    The people from the city were very nice, but the above commenters are right- they won'tdo anything for you. If you want the raccoons dealt with, you have to pay a private trapper. We saw the raccoon again last night, with a raccoon buddy, so we're going to hire whoever we need to to deal with the problem. We have a 2 week old baby plus the dog, and don't want to be afraid to hang out in our own backyard.

  33. Jeeze, touched a nerve there, I see. Don't be so sensitive, newcomer. Besides, what the hell does any of your straw-man rant have to do with raccoons?

    BTW, if you read below, you'll see that the person who was actually attacked by this varmint agrees that the city didn't — and won't — do a damn thing. Well, surprise, surprise, surprise!

  34. Good grief, that's a terrible misadventue! Very sorry to hear about this. I've been rather nonchalant about the raccoons, simply thinking that if we take the right precautions we'll be okay. To hear your story of a raccoon agressively coming after your little dog, and then even after being thwarted, that it returned to bite you as well, is just downright scary! I certainly don't blame you for being concerned for your baby as well. I sincerely wish you luck in getting rid of this raccoon monster!

  35. “OK, I guess you must be one of the new arrivals that have so enhanced our quality of life.”

    Quite the reponse (attitude?) there. I'm a concerned neighbor who has not had to think about dealing with raccoons in a more serious way. I was looking for a little more information from my neighbors. Let's be a little more neighborly…

  36. Honestly, I was just surprised that anyone expected the city to do anything – about anything. I've lived here a long time, and in recent years have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the city's so-called “leaders” primary mission is just to make life increasingly difficult for residents. The idea that they would actually come and HELP someone solve a problem seems unrealistic. If pressed on the issue, I would expect the city to take the position that the raccoon was in the right.

  37. From reading the description of the incident on KOMO's website I really hope that animal is not rabid. I'm also worried about it infecting other raccoons.

    Does anyone know how long a rabid animal, specifically a raccoon, can live before the disease kills it?

    I do feel for the family!

  38. That's actually pretty comforting. Especially because I see a lot of raccoons out during the day in the city and in the country it used to be that raccoons who weren't afraid of humans and were out in the day were considered rabid. I guess city raccoons are just different from country raccoons. Thanks for the stats!

  39. Raccoons who stalk and kill chickens are just acting completely normal. Chickens are a big tasty treat for raccoons and the fact that one managed to catch and kill one is very sad, but very normal and not at all indicative of rabies or bizarre raccoon behavior. We have chickens and it took less than 12 hours before the raccoons arrived hoping to get a gourmet meal. Having chickens in the city means having to make a coop and run worthy of Alcatraz.

  40. Best wishes on a speedy recovery for all of you. I hope Bee isn't permanently traumatized and will be able to go outside without freaking out.

  41. The rabies treatment is standard precaution when an animal like this attacks people. A raccoon attacking a person isn't common in a healthy animal, but is with rabid animals. This one could be 50-50 since there was another small animal in the mix, but would you want to take the risk? Even if the chance that the animal is rabid is only 1%, I'll still suffer the shots since if it is rabid and you don't get the shots, you will die. Rabies is 100% fatal in humans.

  42. If the chances were as high as 1% I would agree with you. You might want to check the following references:

    Quoting the last reference:

    “Two human cases of rabies have been reported in Washington in the past 50 years, one in 1995 and one in 1997 (MMWR 1997;46(33):770–4). Both were due to bat rabies variants.

    Bats are the primary reservoir for rabies in Washington State. Bats carrying rabies have been found in almost every county in Washington State….In other parts of the United States, Canada and Mexico, reservoirs include foxes, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, and dogs.”

    In my opinion, rabies preventative shots are unnecessary in Washington State, unless the animal involved is a bat.


  43. Hire somebody? Kill the damn things! If you are worried about “animal lover” nosey neighbors buy a cheap .22 rifle – they are practically silent. These disgusting rats are overpopulated to the max, so don't feel the least bit bad.

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