Ballard family attacked by raccoon

Update: We have an update on the warning we posted earlier this weekend about a raccoon who attacked a Ballard family in their backyard near 14th Ave. and 73rd St. Joanna Silverstein told us a raccoon attacked their dog, then turned on her and her husband Mark on Thursday night.

Joanna said it all began when her little Yorkie “Bee” was walking the perimeter of the yard, and a raccoon suddenly jumped off the fence and made a beeline for the dog. “She’s a pretty little dog and he’s a big raccoon,” Joanna said, explaining that the raccoon attacked just before the dog made it inside the house. She said she tried to pull the dog away, but the raccoon wouldn’t stop its attack, biting the dog and then her in the leg. Her husband Mark, who was tending to their two-week-old child inside, heard his wife’s screams. She said he hit the raccoon with a flashlight and was able to throw it into the backyard.

“The raccoon scratched him pretty badly,” Joanna said. Because of their injuries, they both had to submit to rabies and tetanus shots — more than 25 between the two of them — a “very painful” experience, she said. The dog Bee was bitten on the snout.

After the attack, they distributed flyers in the area warning neighbors to “be watchful of your animals and children as this wild creature has become a threat.” And Joanna tells us, she seen two raccoons in her backyard since the attack. They plan to trap the raccoon(s) in the next couple of weeks.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

91 thoughts to “Ballard family attacked by raccoon”

  1. 72 hours to get your shots. if you dont get it and it was rabid, bad news.

    there is a somewhat scary story on this american life about a women who was attacked in the northeast by a rabid raccoon. she traveled to various hospitals on a holiday weekend, all refusing to give her the injection due to health care complications. eventually, she got it. but it shows once again how borked up the health care in this country is.

    #37 in the world!

  2. Mr. Bandit R. Coon just called the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to report a family of humans living in his families estate. He asked that they be removed immediately.

    Dear people, they are wild animals, if you scare them and corner them they will attack you. If they have babies near by, they will protect them and destroy your face doing it.

  3. Hmmm. Are they not going to take any further action? I think I would be trapping and relocating some coons if that were my neighborhood.

  4. Are tetanus shots and rabies shots the same? Did the author really mean tetanus shots? Hmm.

    That raccoon needs some gun shots. Or…

    A raccoon killed my pet duckling in 1984. I saw it happening and shot the raccoon in the abdomen with a ball bearing from my wrist rocket (slingshot). Then friend came and hit the raccoon's neck with his baseball bat a few times. The raccoon's head was perpendicular to it's spine when he finished. Then we threw the raccoon off a cliff and buried my duckling beneath a popcicle stick crucifix. Western Australia had abolished the death penalty the day before–too bad for Ranger Rick he committed his crime in Magnolia. You don't mess with the '199.

  5. It sounds like if the dog was significantly smaller than the raccoon then the raccoon saw it as food. When the humans tried to take the raccoons away he got mad and tried to protect his dinner. I'm not saying that I wouldn't have done exactly the same thing to try and protect my pet, but it doesn't sound to me like this raccoon is any threat to randomly attacking a human (unless the human is tiny and weighs about 5 pounds and could be mistaken for a large rodent).

    But as far as small animals go (chickens, young cats and dogs and especially tiny little dogs) it's probably wise to keep them contained when they're outside or be in the yard with them, especially at hunting time around dusk. This is a common problem for pet owners who live in the woods in outlying areas, and it sounds like with the overpopulation of raccoons now it's a city problem too. Also, just an FYI, a hawk has been hunting pigeons in our area of Ballard and they also will try to eat small pets the same as raccoons do. I had a friend lose a kitten to a hawk once.

  6. I think I am logged on as a guest… I would be concerned about rabies…. 25 shots sounds like rabies… Tetanus shots are usually only one or two… Not 25.

  7. Best wishes on a speedy recovery for all those attacked. Hopefully Bee will be able to go outside with out freaking out. I will be wearing steel toe boots around shrubbery and such. No more flip flops. The raccoon problem seems to be worse the last couple years. Getting hit by a vehicle is the only thing they have to worry about. Without predators the population keeps growing. If the law would allow I think I would by the most powerful pellet gun and go vigilante. That is a difficult point for me to get to but a line was crossed.

    To the people raising chickens, WTF? I strongly think poultry should be banned within city limits. Every predator no matter what size will be attracted to and go after chickens. They are a magnet for varmints that no one wants in their neighborhood. The scent travels a long way. I really don't see the benefit of having a couple chickens when weighed against the danger and nuisance for the family owning them or for the neighbors.

  8. Very true. And this isn't a new thing. Raccoons, prey birds, possums, are scroungers. If they see an animal fit to eat, or they have a litter or eggs to protect, they will attack. When I lived in the outer limits of the U-Dist we had a bad raccoon problem. And that was about fifteen years ago. Like BallardMom says, just be cautious.

  9. Is there a possible connection between this and the recent filming of The Details, a movie which is described as “a black comedy about a couple whose disagreements over how to deal with their raccoon infestation leads to an escalating series of events.”?
    _ P-Ninny

  10. My sympathies. I can joke about bears and cougars, e.g., “Dont play 'got your nose' with bears. ” Have encountered many a bear and while not the cat himself entirely (OK, the tail on a couple of occassions), but his fresh sign (as in just around the corner) in the Cascades over the years. In the Picketts, the Paysaten, the Sawtooths, enroute to Eldo and Klawatti, on the Icicle, in the Teanaway, Sibley Creek, in the Chiwaukum, on West Tiger 3, for chrissakes, etc., etc., etc. Never scary meetings; in fact, comical, just mammals trying to avoid each other. But based on my encounters with racoons, they scare the living shite out of me, esp. the ones in the SPs or in th ONP who are habitualized and now those in my 'hood. They inspire the most base and primitive reactions in me. Trapping and relocating, sure, perhaps relocating 500 metres off of Elliott Bay in a rock-filled crab pot. Or racoon as the newest haute cuisine, any meat is good marinated in a strong garlic and chipotle sauce and racoon fur was all the rage in the '20s . . . .

  11. Here's an idea, a company called Critter Control will come out and set traps for the raccoons. It's $170 to set up the traps, and about $50 for each one caught. They use live traps, you call in the morning if anything is caught overnight, and they take them away and euthanize them.

  12. Try coyote urine for getting racoons out of your yard, they'll think a predator is around and will stay away. You can buy it online in either liquid or powder form. We had friends who had racoons living under their house and hanging out in their yard…they used the coyote urine around the perimeter of their yard/house and the racoons were outta there and haven't come back. As far as the smell goes, I think that it dissipates pretty fast and then only the animals can smell it.

  13. A pellet gun is the only thing that has kept the raccoons from partying — and crapping on my roof — every night. I tried everything else – natural “repellants”, electronic gizmos, water sprayers, and just shooing them away. They just give you a dirty look and go about their business as if they owned the place.

    A good solid hit from the pellet gun sends them scurrying away, and eventually they get the message and stop coming back. Highly recommended. Just be real careful not to hit the neighbor's windows…

  14. I heard that the raccoon wrangler for the film was giving his critters a new experimental cocktail of steroids and mind altering drugs to make them take direction better and look more menacing on screen. Turns out they became super aggressive with the strength of 8 raccoons in 1! They busted out of their hotel and are running free while the producers have gotten replacements to ensure deniability. And worse yet I think the raccoons were actually canadian. They didn't even use local or U.S. talent.

    Again, best for speedy recovery to those involved. It was a serious event but I couldn't resist this.

  15. FWIW, rabies has never been identified in raccoons in WA, and of the *two* recorded rabies cases in the state in the past 20 years, both were from bats.

    Obviously these folks were wise to get rabies shots, but there's no reason to think there's some rabid raccoon roaming the mean streets of Ballard.

  16. Ummm….yeah. I am good with that. If a raccoon comes over a fence and goes straight at my dog in an attack then I am pushed to kill it and if I can't identify the one, then all must go. It is a line I would not cross lightly but this case would take drastic measures. Add to that a 2 week old baby in the household and there is no question an aggressive raccoon would be killed.

    So I am interested in the steps one can take. I don't believe using a pellet gun to annoy them until they leave is adequate. What steps can be used in the city?

  17. I've tried many things to give them the hint that we didn't appreciate them using our roof as their bathroom every night. Only thing that has worked was the pellet gun. If you don't want to go there, then I think you only have a few choices: trap them yourself and relocate them (good luck with that), pay someone else to do that ($170 each time, according to someone else upthread), or surrender and just let them have their way. Personally, the pellet gun option seemed to make the most sense to me (recommended by a neighbor who had gone through the same routine). Some might feel some remorse over the thought of “shooting” the cute little creatures, but I have no trouble sleeping at night (although I had lots of trouble sleeping when the damn varmints were having a convention right outside my window every night at 3 am). YMMV.

  18. Hey Andy- Would you pass on the rabies shots given the statistics?

    Rabid or not, it came jumping over a fence in attack mode and went right for the dog while a person was there. It then turned and attacked the human. In many years of living with raccoons (Not in the wild but in the immediate neighborhood) and dealing with them while camping, I have never seen this aggressive of behavior. Animal control practice seems to be that once an animal crosses into aggressive behavior, they need to be dealt with.

  19. I read your previous posts about your experience and was under the impression the raccoons just scurried away, maybe stinging a bit, but just moving to someone else's roof. It appears it was a permanent solution?

    I am not advocating open season and bounties on Raccoons by any means. But there are special circumstances.

  20. As I said, these folks were wise to get shots. I likely would've done the same, but with ER copays and the like, I'd definitely think long and hard about it :)

    As for “aggressive behavior”, a going after a yorkie seems like perfectly reasonable raccoon behavior to me, as does attacking someone/something who tries to take said squirrel-sized meal away. At the very least, I doubt animal control is going to be out hunting for one raccoon in a neighborhood that houses hundreds.

  21. Legally speaking, you may need a permit to trap raccoons (they're considered game & fur animals and have a season), and you definitely need a permit to release wildlife anywhere in the state that's not your own property. Just FYI.

  22. Getting nailed a few times by the pellet gun definitely seems to have dissuaded the troupe that used to relieve themselves under the eaves of our roof nightly. It took a few late night confrontations — they're persistent critters — but I guess they decided that they had finally encountered a Ballard resident that was as stubborn as they were.

    In the first few encounters, they just started slowly shuffling along the roof, barely giving any ground, as usual. At first the popping sound from the pellet gun didn't seem to bother them that much (even at close range). It's not loud – it sounds a lot like what you hear for the sound of a gun with a silencer in films – kind of a quiet “ping”. When I first started shooting at them, I missed a lot (hey, it's in the dark, and I had just been woken up at 3 am), and they just slowly shuffled off, giving me that dirty look. But eventually, I started getting more accurate and hitting them, and they took more notice. They do not seem to like getting shot, even if they are huge fur-balls and the rounds are just little pellets from a low-power air gun. As I began nailing them more consistently, they stopped coming around. A few times a year, they'll show up again (either re-testing to see if it's still a hostile environment, or maybe it's a new bunch working the block), but once they take a few pellets in the ass, they stay away for months. That compares to before I rolled out the firepower, when they came pretty much every night, most of the year.

    So I can't say that the pellet gun solved the problem completely or permanently, but it gives us 3-4 months of raccoon-free peace at a time, and when they do come back, I'm happy to confront them again to remind them our house isn't their exclusive latrine, since they do seem to (finally) be getting the message.

    I sleep well now.

    YMMV….but all I can say is, I'm very glad I started shooting the little buggers.

    Good hunting.

  23. Animal control will NOT do anything about raccoons. Aggressive, passive, rabid, cute or otherwise. They don't see that as part of their job, period.

    If you call the city and ask them to help you deal with a raccoon problem, they will tell you to leave the raccoons alone, and will warn you that if you harass raccoons, you can be fined.

    Don't ask me how I know this.

  24. I just re-read your post, and wanted to clarify: if by “permanent solution” you meant terminate the little beasts, no, you would need something much more powerful than a pellet gun to do that.

    These things are big, fluffy balls of fur — and they're fat — and I think getting nailed by a pellet gun merely annoys them. To actually send them off to Raccoon heaven (well, I'm guessing most of Ballard probably *is* raccoon heaven, lets say raccoon hell…) you would need considerable firepower, and it's probably not real smart to be firing off anything like a real gun out your window in the middle of the night when you're half asleep. Although there were times when I probably would have enjoyed splattering one or two of them, I live with a Buddhist, and offing a raccoon is not allowed in my house, no matter how tempting it might be.

    A real gun would also undoubtedly make a lot of noise, freak out your neighbors (understandably so) and maybe even attract the attention of the police. Not recommended.

  25. When they were looking for that cougar last week, I recall the Fish & Game folks were excited when they thought they found the animal's cache of half-eaten food. After further examination, it was determined the racoon carcass they found was actually the remains of a homeless person's meal.

    I think that is our problem. If we only had more homeless people in Ballard to eat these racoons, our problems would be solved.

  26. As stated in this story and a previous thread, the family has plans to trap the raccoons (s) soon. The whole area will benefit from this so many thanks from your Whittier neighbors.

  27. You're kidding about the chickens, right? Otherwise – WTF? We've had chickens for 3 weeks and tons of raccoons and a possums in our yard since we moved into the neighborhood a decade ago. The hawk that's been hanging out in our yard showed up years ago because of the flock of pigeons that live next door to eat out of all my neighbors bird feeders. Long before anyone had chickens in Ballard the raccoons and possums have been attracted to urban garbage. Saying chickens make the raccoon problem worse is like telling people not to carry purses or wallets because suddenly they've attracted muggers to the neighborhood.

    I'll eat my words when foxes and wolves (ie: animals that weren't already here to begin with) start showing up to hunt urban chickens.

  28. So far all the raccoons that live around our house have stayed on the periphery around the fences because our dog marks in our yard every day. I think coyote urine would work better with a real coyote, otherwise I think you might have to do it every day. But it is a good idea. I had no idea you could buy it. Or you could get a big dog but then that's really only a good idea if you're a dog lover who wants that huge responsibility.

  29. I don't see the point of trapping the raccoon.

    There's probably thousands of raccoons in the greater ballard area. What will trapping a few do, other than putting a few hundred bucks in the exterminator's pocket?

  30. Here is another concern for those folks who have raccoon crap in their area:

    “the raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) is a serious public health concern. This parasite is transmitted through the ingestion or inhalation of eggs passed in raccoon feces. Children should be prevented from playing in areas where raccoons have defecated.” HSUS

  31. I'm saddened to read about this desire to kill the raccoons. Killing should not be the solution to problems, but we kill even our fellow human beings in so called wars. As far as the raccoons, we are encroaching on their habitat by so much development that it's no wonder they come into our yards. I feed a couple of wild cats on my porch and at night the raccoons and even possum come and finish the food. Occasionally I can give the raccoons a couple of raw eggs in winter as a treat. They have never shown any aggression even though my indoor cat can sit on the porch railing just above them and hiss at them while they eat! Many years ago I even petted a raccoon baby sleeping in the corner o my large deck and the mother let me do it looking on from the other corner. I think we need to respect wildlife, be more compassionate towards the wild animals that we share life with on Mother Earth, and think of solutions to problems that will benefit us mutually.

  32. It was a small dog – it looked like food – and raccoons aren't afraid of people.
    I had one that ate all the fish out of my pond in the middle of the day and she just stood her ground when I came out to tell her to move on.
    Also – at this time of year – the mom raccoons are kicking their kids out of the nest. You may have noticed about a month ago – many more dead raccoons on the street, 520, 85th, etc. The mom basically tells them to go, leads them away from her home, and if they try to come back, will scream at them. So, right now Ballard is being over-run with teenage raccoons looking for food and a home. I have a fairly large dog so the raccoons have stopped coming through my yard except late at night (the dog rolls in their poo – smells like fish). Two weeks ago the dogs got in a fight with raccoons – turned out to be three juveniles on the fence. Me and the dogs and a broom and flashlight. The raccoons just sat there standing their ground. I had to shove them with the broom to get them to go the other way.
    Sucks for the people that got bit.

  33. Jeez, we're losing touch with nature when families go bonkers over a foo-foo mutt being attacked by a racoon. God forbid you should move to Alaska where wolves, moose and bears roam thru people's backyards (like mine) and people don't go bonkers over that, or worse, as some of the radical postings indicate. You just live with it.

  34. “people don't go bonkers “

    No. They just shoot the intruding animal on site. Everyone I know in Alaska keeps a thirty aught six by the door just for this purpose.

  35. Not sure if trapping is actually going to do anything … they'll probably find their way back.

    “she traveled to various hospitals on a holiday weekend, all refusing to give her the injection due to health care complications. eventually, she got it. but it shows once again how borked up the health care in this country is.”

    Hilariously ignorant statement. Rabies prophylaxis is one of the most if not the most complicated immunization treatments & not something that's easily performed on vacation. It's not just showing up and getting a shot from a doctor.

  36. And they told him that he had to wait while they sent out for the vaccine from another hospital because he was the SEVENTH PERSON IN TWO DAYS to come into the emergency room with a raccoon bite!

  37. “Hilariously ignorant statement.” as is yours since you haven't heard the program.
    The issue was that the hospitals gave bad information and gave this woman the ultimate runaround because the county governments and health care providers refused to be cooperative, all while the clock was ticking.

  38. You can also buy live traps on Amazon. Of course this leaves it up to the homeowner to dispatch the caught animal, not everyone is up for that.

    You would be surpised how many cats are dumb enough to get caught this way. I consider them catch and release.

  39. Your “wild cats” are not wild, they are domestic felines which have turned feral. Domestics are not meant to live outdoors, and odds are they spend their short lives killing songbirds (both native and nonnative) before being hit by cars, eaten by coyotes, or dying from painful diseases. Your feeding them does no good. Rather, you contribute to their population explosion, ensuring that future generations will live equally miserable lives.

    As for feeding raccoons and opossums, you do them a disservice as well. These are wild animals whose natural scavenging instincts and fear of humans your actions are surely serving to eliminate. You simply establish a reliance on humans, and encourage the sorts of interactions which lead to the problems discussed above. There is plenty of food in the urban landscape for these animals to thrive on without getting tangled up with humans and their domestic livestock.

  40. Time will tell. As long as you take your lumps and don't Whine when something happens. I am just relaying info recently told me by people that have a few chickens. Also why many cities don't allow poultry. It is not just about attracting new predators into the area, it is about changed behavior and higher concentration of animals already here. How can it not? Big fat bait out there. In 6 months please post a report on how it is going.

  41. To drive the point home, this is an excerpt from the WDFW page on raccoons: “Raccoons that are fed by people often lose their fear of humans and may become aggressive when not fed as expected. Artificial feeding also tends to concentrate raccoons in a small area; overcrowding can spread diseases and parasites. “

  42. O.M.G.
    Doris the Raccoon whisperer. Gee, put out raw salmon, they should love that. People, don't feed them. It is generally not a good idea to pet the babies for many reasons. I personally love watching raccoons and think they are cute and entertaining. Until one crosses the line of aggression. I have stated before I am not for an open season on them.

  43. Really? You know people will judge you by these kinds of comments. Is this really what you want us to see? So you don't place any value on the life of a dog, Are you the guy that says dogs are luxury items?

    God forbid I should move to Alaska. NEVER. And I may be city folk but I know that alaska residents don't coexist peacefully letting predators take over their residence.

    You are with city folk now. You just live with it.

  44. Who's counting, but we've had problems with giant ants, rats, mice, wasps, yellow jackets, moles, raccoons, possums, transients that booze in the alley, ex-neighbors who have thrown cans and partied all night, errant drivers taking out cherry trees on our parking strip, outright auto theft, burglery and catepillar infestation.

    I feel lucky that none of these calamities required rabies shots.

  45. Maybe the racoon was as annoyed with teh little yipping dog as your neighbors are – only your neighbors being Seattle passive aggressive types havent yet taken action like the raccoon.

  46. Hello? Half of Ballard has roots or some connection to Alaska. Or we did, until overrun by Generation Condo…true Ballardites don't aspire to be 'city folk'. Blasphemy!

  47. Did you read the story? Didn't sound like their little dog cornered this raccoon. Maybe the family just should have watched their dog get eaten. That's what most people would do.

  48. As others have pointed out, YOU are CONTRIBUTING to the problem. Do not feed the raccoons. Those raccons you fed and petted lose fear of humans, thus will cause problems such as the article.

    Also, those cats you saw are not “wild” cats. They are feral cats, descendants of domesticated cats. These cats are known to procreate 3 times a year. You feeding them will contribute to the over-population of these feral cats. Feral cats led terrible existence, scrounging around garbage and scraps, making more litters, spreading diseases, eaten by foxes & racoons, and eventually being ran over by cars.

    It's ironic that you want to protect the “mother earth” and being judgemental to others, yet, are the one who is contributing to the problems. Do not feed these animals.

  49. When I was about 11 and babysitting three very young children in the Northgate area, about 6 large raccoons chased us up into the house where we closed the sliding glass door behind us, and then they proceeded to climb the screen door!!! We were scared. They finally went away, but they were truly after us!! About a year ago, one cornered me in my mother's backyard (same area) and it would not budge and snarled at me!! Finally it crept away as I made myself as menacing as possible!
    Yes, watch your small pets and children!

  50. I forgot that outlanders from Alaska are different from those that come from NY, midwest, or God forbid, California. Or at least they think so. And yes, it appears the romantic notions and delusions of ballard as frontier fishing village are being tested. Dam the city folk.

  51. Komo 4 News is doing a broadcast on tonight's news about the recent raccoon attacks. Our story was on about a month ago and was on the QA View. Our Maltese lost her leg to a raccoon and most of her tail. She is lucky to be alive. I don't really care who's fault it is, it is happening a lot it sounds like and people need to be aware of this “danger” to their pets and small children and themselves. The QA News also rad a series of articles about our dog, another dog on QA who was attacked, and an article by a vet at Elliot Bay Animal Hospital. More awareness is what is needed in addition to people not leaving food out there for the raccoons, including dog or cat food. It also seems like these incidents are mostly happening at dawn or dusk. Ours happened at 5 a.m. when I get up for work.

    I used to think that raccoons were cute fun animals to see, but I feel very differently now!

  52. No one reads the actual story, commenting on the internet is all about making bitter, sarcastic, insulting, and most importantly, idiotic statements as often and pointlessly as possible.

  53. 14th and 73rd– there is a house around there that looks sort of empty– mid-block 7300's. any chance raccoons are living in there? anyone know which house i am talking about?

  54. You know when the human race really “F”-ed up? The day we decided that we were not animals. And that all other creatures were below us, and so they lose, we win. Honestly I dont care about religon, Darwin or Intelligent Creation. All I know is, because we were and still are the smartest animals (by the way, any creature that destroys its host (aka the earth) is called a parasite) we dont care about any of the other creatures. Just because we build fences and grow green grass and pot plants, that means that the racoons are a pest? That they are supposed to understand that this cedar fence that I just paid a pretty penny for means “keep out”. And if they dont get the message, you trap and relocate or destroy them? Just because its a Human Neighborhood you pest animal, your not endangered and you bit a pretty little toy dog. You know whats really sad about this? Dogs are smart enough to ingratiate themselves so thoroughly with the human race that we feed them and bathe them and follow them around and pick up their poop. Its too bad other species havent learned this trick.

  55. Anybody who is feeding raccoons by putting out food is also feeding RATS. Yuck!

    Is it legal to feed wildlife? My guess is no, but perhaps there's nothing on the books. Anyone know?

  56. If you want your kids to get bit and have to get rabies shots, or worse yet, get rabies, be my guest. Personally, I value my kids lives more than raccoons. Call me crazy. I see one of these suckers come near my kids and it'll be Ichiro time with my bat. I'll hang the pelts up for you to show you what a savage I am.

  57. Just like any other wild animal, you should not feed raccoons. They may be cute but as written, they can harm humans and other animals without provocation. One late afternoon last year one of our dogs started digging at our deck. It was the kind of obsessive digging dogs do when they want to get a rabbit. When I looked down between the deck boards, there was a raccoon kit. You could see its' little black nose. I called some wildlife rescue places but the kit left on its' own by morning.

  58. “Uff da”… I just tried to feed one some Lefse and it refuse it. Maybe later I will try some Lutefisk?

    I am gonna have to start shooting dogs – cause there have been alot more dog attacks than coons…

  59. Ironically, my next door neighbor said to me today, “I'm glad you got chickens because I'm hoping it will attract the raccoons to your yard instead of my yard so they'll stop coming in my cat door to raid our food.”

    I doubt anything will happen to our chickens because they are locked down in a little chicken Alcatraz to keep out the predators. If it doesn't work, that's just what happens with animals. Raccoons have to eat too.

  60. If you take into account that raccoons have no natural predators in the city, it would actually be better for all involved if we had a hunting season on raccoons and put more of a balance into our urban ecosystem. Seriously. A glut of any species is damaging to nature. I imagine though that in Seattle that would not fly and PETA would have a coniption fit.

  61. someone should write a book on urban wildlife stories!

    a few years ago i moved from seattle to the hollywood hills, and there are many many more wild critters here than i expected. last spring a young looking raccoon and older one busted into my building's courtyard mid-fight and yelling loudly. they kept it moving and took it into the pool. all of the residents came out of their doors and we watched in horror as the younger seemed to be losing the battle and/or drowning.

    we called 911 but as soon as the dispatch found out that the violence was between non-humans, they refused to send anyone out. i finally started throwing rocks at the big guy and he ran off. little guy was ok, but had to gather his strength in a poolside lounge chair for a few hours before getting on his way. raccoon on raccoon violence is wrong too.

  62. I'm with Keyboard Kitty. I heard the story on This American Life, one year ago, and it provided me with a whole new opinion about raccoons, which is basically that you do what you can to avoid them. You just never know what their story is, and by the time you get close enough, it may be too late. If an animal is rabid–and this species has the highest percentage of rabies in wild animals in the U.S.–it may attack you simply because you are there. It isn't normal for wild animals to approach humans (unless they are accustomed to being fed, and that's a whole separate can of worms).

    Here's the story:

    Perhaps the raccoon in the Ballard case wasn't rabid, but perhaps it was. It seems unlikely that the raccoon would see the dog as prey. It seems more likely that a) it was rabid or b) protecting its territory and/or its young. In a case like this, it seems really hard to comment on how one might have handled it differently. Most people would protect their pet; certainly, and most probably would have reacted quite similarly to the way the Silversteins did. I feel badly for what happened to them. The idea of contracting rabies is very frightening, and the shots/treatments are reportedly very unpleasant. The only things I can think of to help prevent things like this from reoccurring is 1) Never feed wild animals (don't give them a reason to come around), and 2) maybe there are healthy and wildlife friendly ways that people can “raccoon proof” their properties.

  63. I had a raccoon come up to my sliding glass window today and terrorize my cats. I tried to chase it away with a broom, and eventually did. I think it finally figured out that I meant business (or it finally got bored..)


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