Raccoons attacking dogs and humans?! WTF!!! The animals are taking OVER!!! [Insert *nervous snicker* here]. This story about raccoon attacks gave me the willies:
Alameda, CA — Rachel Campos de Ivanov was walking her dog last Sunday night when she saw two eyes glowing in the darkness. Her border terrier barked furiously. The eyes came closer, and she discerned a masked furry critter.
She turned away and her pursuer, a raccoon, charged. Then four other raccoons dropped from the trees and joined the chase.
"I was running as fast as I could and screaming at the top of my lungs, 'Help! Help! Help!' " said the East Bay resident. "I ran about a third of a block, then tripped and fell on the ground."
Dougie, her 20-pound dog, fended off four of the snarling animals, but the fifth latched onto the woman's leg and bit her.
Campos de Ivanov, 33, is the ninth raccoon attack victim since June in Alameda, a small, bustling city of tree-lined streets, Victorian-style houses, waterfront cafes, shopping malls and beaches. An island, Alameda is linked to Oakland by short bridges and two underwatertunnels.
Locked in by the bay, the raccoons "don't have enough territory, so they are acting aggressively toward anything out there that looks like a predator," said Daniel Wilson, community relations coordinator for the Alameda County Vector Control Services District. Alameda has more than 70,000 people on about 10.8 square miles of land.
"It's a public safety problem," Wilson said. "You should be able to walk the streets at night with a dog and not worry about being molested by a raccoon."
Campos de Ivanov is now receiving a series of painful shots to protect her from rabies, though it is unlikely that her attacker carried the disease. Rabid raccoons are rampant on the East Coast, but the disease is rare among raccoons in the West. Bats and skunks are the prime carriers here, officials said.
"The problem is there is more wildlife in the cities than in the country because there is more food here," said David Gould, a vector control officer who has worked in Alameda for 20 years. He said all of the attacks involved people with dogs, and the dogs probably incited the raccoons.
"Raccoons are ornery," Gould said. "They bite the heads off baby chicks."
He said the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been consulted, and there is talk of trying to trap the animals. But vector control officials say it is not likely to do much good.
Officials may place a trap in the city park where the raccoons that chased Campos de Ivanov were living — "just as a P.R. gesture," Gould said. "It's the humans that need to stop leaving out food."