VANCOUVER – Kitsilano resident Judy Maddocks says something needs to be done about the growing number of raccoons in her Vancouver neighbourhood.
Maddocks and her two dogs were attacked in mid-September when they were returning from a walk to her Chestnut Street home.
“I looked ahead about eight feet, and a raccoon, I got a glimpse, it peered out from a fence next door and in a split second it just charged,” she said.
Before she knew what was happening, the raccoon had Maddocks’ pug in its claws.
“[The pug] pulled out of the harness and the raccoon had him by the back leg and the tail in the brink of an eye and so then I was down on the ground wrestling Monty [the pug] away from the raccoon and I finally managed to pull him underneath me,” she said.
But the raccoon didn’t stop there.
Judy said she was lying face down with both dogs underneath her. “Then the raccoon just plunged its claws right into my shin and he was chewing on the heel of my shoe, and I was screaming like crazy,” she said.
“I just remember how deep the claws went.”
That is when her neighbours, who must have heard her screaming, came rushing to help.
“There was great commotion,”said Maddocks. “The guys finally managed to dispatch the raccoon.”
The animal took off and Maddocks’ neighbours helped her inside her house.
“My jeans were just saturated with blood and so was my runner because he’d gone right through the heel,” she said.
The police and paramedics were called and Monty had to go to the vet to get antibiotics and painkillers, while Maddocks had to get a tetanus shot.
“The vet said to me ‘you’re so lucky that your neighbours responded when they did because what the raccoon was trying to do was pull Monty free from you and then he would have flipped him over and disemboweled him in the blink of an eye’,” said Maddocks.
“He said once they start attacking they don’t stop.”
No one was available from the City of Vancouver to comment directly on the issue, but a spokesperson said raccoons are protected under the BC Wildlife Act, which is regulated by the B.C. Government. Wildlife issues on private lands are the responsibility of the property owner for the most part, but they are bound by the regulations of the BC Wildlife Act.
The spokesperson said on private property a raccoon may be trapped and relocated by a registered trapper, but Maddocks said in her opinion, more needs to be done.
“It was one of those unprovoked attacks,” she said.
She added that the City of Vancouver told her she has to co-exist with wildlife, but she is concerned about her safety outside her own home.
Last week when she went outside at night she saw two raccoons sitting on the path and they started chasing her.
“By the time I got to my gate there were about five or six of them,” she said. “It’s very, very scary.”
The City of Vancouver said they encourage coexistence and they discourage interaction. Don’t feed raccoons or leave out garbage or pet food. They added that various scare tactics can also be implemented, such as motion-activated sprinklers or keeping a broom by the back door that can be waved around.
But Maddocks wants more attention brought to this issue.
She would like officials to warn people about these creatures before something worse happens. “The reality is, if this is an increasing problem, it’s equally inhumane that these things are ripping up cats and killing them and they’re going to kill dogs, I’m sure they have killed dogs or they’re going to,” she said.
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