Monday, September 04, 2006

Rampaging Racoons

Now we have another animal to worry about:

Psycho killer raccoons terrorize Olympia

Tue Aug 22, 5:44 PM ET

A fierce group of raccoons has killed 10 cats, attacked a small dog and bitten at least one pet owner who had to get rabies shots, residents of Olympia say.

Some have taken to carrying pepper spray to ward off the masked marauders and the woman who was bitten now carries an iron pipe when she goes outside at night.

"It's a new breed," said Tamara Keeton, who with Kari Hall started a raccoon watch after an emotional neighborhood meeting drew 40 people. "They're urban raccoons, and they're not afraid."

Tony Benjamins, whose family lost two cats, said he got a big dog — a German Shepherd-Rottweiler mix — to keep the raccoons away.

One goal of the patrol is to get residents to stop feeding raccoons and to keep pets and pet food indoors.

Lisann Rolle said she began carrying an iron pipe when she goes outside at night after being bitten by raccoons when she tried to pull three of them off her cat Lucy. She obtained rabies shots afterward as a precaution.

"I was watching her like a hawk, but she snuck out," Rolle said. "Then I heard this hideous sound — a coyote-type high pitch ... It was vicious. They were focused on ripping her apart."

The attacks have been especially shocking because raccoons came within five feet (1 1/2 meters) of cats without any problem in previous years, Benjamins said.

"We used to love the raccoons. They'd have their babies this time of year, and they were so cute. Even though we lived in the city, it was neat to have wildlife around," he said, "but this year, things changed. They went nuts."

In one case five raccoons tried to carry off a small dog, which managed to survive.

The attacks, all within a three-block area near the Garfield Nature Trail in Olympia, are highly unusual, said Sean O. Carrell, a problem wildlife coordinator with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, adding that trappers may be summoned from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to remove problem animals.

"I've never heard a report of 10 cats being killed. It's something were going to have to monitor," Carrell said.

Meanwhile, residents have hired Tom Brown, a nuisance wildlife control operator from Rochester, Washington, to set traps, but in six weeks he has caught only one raccoon. He and Carrell said raccoons teach their young — and each other — to avoid traps.

Brown said he had seen packs of raccoons this big but none so into killing.

"They are in command up there," he said.

Man alive, that is scary. Psycho killer racoons on the loose!

This does raise an interesting question: how did they determine that these racoons were "psycho" killers? Do they have a racoon psychiatrist to make this determination? It seems to me that there is no psychosis, just deep-seeded anger. We have no evidence of halucinations, delusions of grandeur, or other signs of psychosis. It seems absurd to me that they could have made this clinical diagnosis based on the sparse number of observations. I mean, why didn't they diagnose them as having a personality disorder, or ADD? I tell you, the press really takes liberties these days!

I really think this is some sort of racoon cult. They were carying the small dog off for some sort of ritual sacrifice. I think they also pacify the racoon spirits with the blood of cats. Whatever it is, some sort of scoundrel has whipped these masked mammals into a frenzy. I suspect it is a Coyote, since they have learned to speak that language.

The other theory that I would put forward is that this is some sort of gang. They do mention that these are urban racoons, so they have probably fallen into the wrong crowd. They probably have to prove themselves worthy by killing cats or stealing a small dog (do you think it was a Chihuahua?). If they have "Ranger Rick Rules" spray painted on the side of a building in town, then they'll know. Perhaps the monkeys from Roanake have been spreading their brand of gangs out west.

This is a scary world we live in.