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Raccoons attack woman walking with dog by Ft. Steilacoom Park

Post by Alexis Krell / The News Tribune on July 10, 2012 at 11:42 am with 35 Comments »
July 10, 2012 4:39 pm

A woman was attacked by a pack of raccoons near Ft. Steilacoom Park Monday afternoon, Lakewood police said.

Michaela Lee, 28, was walking home with her leashed dog after jogging through the park about 1:30 p.m., when the raccoons attacked, her boyfriend Shane Bennett said.

Her dog, Maddison, ran away to chase two raccoons up a tree as she was leaving the park on a trail, said Lakewood police spokesman Chris Lawler. Lee went to get the dog, at which point more raccoons came out of a bush and chased her as she ran away.

She ran 75 feet before they knocked her down. A witness told police that six or seven raccoons chased her, and that three attacked her for about 15 seconds.

Lee was taken to the emergency room for scratches and puncture wounds. Animal control and medics responded to the scene.

Bennett told police that Lee suffered about 100 wounds total, one of which needed a staple.

She was treated for several hours, started a round of rabies shots, and begins antibiotics today, Bennett said. Though they’ve since learned that rabies is rare in raccoons there.

“These are vicious little nasty things that can maul people,” Bennett added.

Neighbor Michael Parks looked out his window when he heard screaming Monday and saw Lee on the ground at the edge of his lawn. He called 911 when he noticed she was wounded.

He said he believes the raccoons that attacked are the same ones that have been in the area since he moved there 17 years ago.

“They have babies and they grow up, ” Parks said. “There’s just kind of a continuous family of them.”

He said the animals are sometimes violent toward each other, but have never attacked humans to his knowledge.

“They just hang around here,” Parks said. “They come around and a couple of us in the neighborhood feed them.”

See Parks’ video of the neighborhood raccoon family on Facebook.

CMGd Video Player

Video courtesy KIRO-TV

Leave a comment Comments → 35
  1. Ortingmom says:

    Were the perps wearing masks? I hope she fully recovers

  2. So what’s being done to prevent another attack by these animals?
    We have many raccoons in our area, and I have never heard of them attacking anyone.
    But my neighbors and I respect their space and they seem to respect ours—— except for our garbage cans!

  3. TacomaDude says:

    Mr. Park’s response demonstrates a lack of common sense, “… a couple of us in the neighborhood feed them.” Why does he act so surprised that these raccoons would eventually turn on those hands that feed them? Amazing.

  4. Racoon hunting season now open!

  5. ginahopk says:

    the article refered to them as, ” vicious little nasty things”. They are animals who are being forced out of their area by humans. The ones that attacked were probably protecting their babies,and the dog startled them. I wish there was an answer to what we can do. The racoons are not really vicious, only when trying to protect themselves and thier families. Humans do the same thing when their families are in danger. We need to respect their area and give them their space. I feel bad for the victim.

  6. Stop feeding the raccoons!!! It causes overpopulation and eventually illness.

  7. justacitizen says:

    Many years ago, I watched a pack of raccoons drown a German Shepherd in Lake Steilacoom. They are very organized and efficient and worked together to push the dog’s head under the water.

  8. MrCarleone says:



    A Lawsuit !

    Hmmm !

  9. nwcolorist says:

    O come on guys. These animals are poor defenseless creatures. Where’s your compassion.

    They probably grew up in single parent homes, in abject poverty.

  10. bobcat1a says:

    nwc, they sound like conservative hockey moms (minus the lipstick).

  11. Irritated says:

    LMFAO @ NWcolorist and Ortingmom! Although, I will say raccoons scare the crap out of me!

  12. An authoritative web site says that raccoons who are fed will not only tend to stay in the area, but that they can also be aggressive if the food isn’t provided as expected.

    I hope the people who feed them don’t have children.

  13. Scottc51 says:

    These raccoons behave exactly like people who aren’t given handouts as expected.

  14. We have seen raccoons in our neighborhood who come up to us expecting to be fed. This means there are idiots out there who are feeding them. Please don’t feed wild animals, when they don’t get what they want from you, they will attack.

  15. Thanks for the comments and support. I’m the boyfriend. We have seen raccoons around here since we bought a house here. We left them alone and they left us alone. One of the main reasons we bought the home was the proximity to the park and we love the area.

    No lawsuits or anything like that. We only reported it due to the severity of the injuries and so hopefully a few people would be aware of it so that they do not feed them or have the same thing happen to them. If the same thing had happened to a child or elderly person it could have been extremely serious or fatal.

    Animal control was very responsive and has been out several times and are trying to figure out what the best course of action is to prevent something like this from happening again

  16. Sounds incredible – especially them chasing her down. Perhaps a perfume she was wearing. I guess the dog chasing them triggered them off.

  17. Wrapper98439 says:

    Coons are nasty critters. Even out in the Midwest where there are not houses for miles. Anybody that feeds them is responsible for their actions. Several hundred dollar fine in Tacoma to feed critters.

  18. Autocrosser says:

    It says she was walking a leashed dog home, and then the dog was chasing them up a tree?

    Everyone knows you don’t mess with mama bear, I guess raccoons have heard the saying as well.

  19. Dog was on a leash but ran up to the tree where the raccoons were. Leash came out of her hand and when she grabbed the leash off the ground was when the others popped out of the bushes

  20. I think the people feeding the raccoons should be fined! You are NOT supposed to feed wild animals for reasons just like this. When you do they lose their fear of humans and will strike out. If this had happened to my child I would NOT be as kind as the woman’s boyfriend seems to be.

    It is totally unacceptable that people are trying to find blame in the person who got hurt!

  21. Autocrosser says:

    I think the others were protecting their family not after the snickers bar in her pocket.. No one should be feeding the raccoons but I don’t think that was the cause here.

  22. JessieTheGreat says:

    As someone who lives on the same street as this lady (they’re great neighbors, by the way), I’m pretty concerned, for several reasons, about this whole thing. First of all, I also go jogging on that trail. Now I know that I’m in danger of the raccoon family, all because someone thought that the babies were cute. I watched them grow up, but knew better than to feed them. They are wild and need to do their own thing. Also, there are ten-year-old children who use this trail. Although I’m sure that they don’t go out alone anymore, is still makes me angry to know that they could be killed because of the ignorance regarding the parks wildlife. I say that people should be more educated about the consequences of their interactions with urban wildlife, and that they deserve to be fined if caught feeding raccoons.

  23. itwasntmethistime says:

    I appreciate them reporting the incident. We have 2 small kids and 2 dogs. I’ve lived near there for 40+ years and I’ve never heard of the park raccoons attacking before. Thanks for the warning.

  24. AshfordDude says:

    3 years ago, our neighbor’s dog (yellow lab) was viciously attacked in their back yard by 3 racoons and sustained critical injuries. Raccoons can be very aggressive and dangerous if they turn on you.

  25. Devinc253 says:

    Wow. This is crazy.

  26. SHAN, best well wishes for her speedy recovery. And I wanted to add in my post that even though she didn’t “feed” them, they have learned not to fear humans because humans are feeding them as evidenced in the story. Well said Jessie- Tacoma has a hefty fine. We’ll see if it ever gets enforced.

  27. Was this in the off leash area? If not she should have had her dog on a leash. This might not have happened.

  28. Irritated says:

    Omg! For the 1,000 time, the dog was on a leash!

    Is this a third world country? If not, people should learn how to read.

  29. Asta1198 says:

    @Irritated, if the dog was on a leash how did it chase the raccoons up a tree? I feel terrible for this poor lady that must have been beyond scary, glad she is okay. If someone chased one of my family members up a tree and came close to my babies I would come out fighting mad too. Who wouldn’t?!

  30. i hope that everyoen who lives in that nieghborhood feeds teh racoons and puts poison in it. this is humans live! not racoons! imagin if that was a kid! racoons need to learn how to respect other living things with people who live their! death to all racoons if that was a kid!!!

  31. JessieTheGreat says:

    Icosotc: People who take that approach to the wildlife around them are the ones responsible for the extinction of numerous species, worldwide. Those same species play crucial and irreplaceable roles in their respectable ecosystems. Personally, I just hope that certain neighbors of mine are thinking, “Whoops!” and understanding their role in this. And that they quit friggin’ feeding those cute little nightmares.

  32. Irritated says:

    Asta1198- it was said a couple times, at least, the dog was on a leash and when it chased after the raccoons, the woman (I’m assuming she was caught off guard, and maybe over-powered) lost her grip. That’s how a dog “chased them up a tree.”

    The real question is, how did raccoons attack a woman on the ground if they were “up a tree”?

  33. Irritated says:

    Scratch the “real question”. I had to re-read the article because I couldn’t figure out how I would have missed that a couple days ago. I got it now. A real organized operation those raccoons are running, I’d say.

  34. Irritated says:

    Scratch the “real question”. I had to re-read the article because I couldn’t figure out how I would have missed that a couple days ago. I got it now. A real organized operation those raccoons are running, I’d say.

    I hope it’ll let me post this. It’s acting a fool.

  35. jessiethe great; that dosent make sence because racoons do not anything for us!! they bite for no reasons she was not hurting the racoons at all and they went after her just to bite her and the dog! how wood you like it if racoons did that to you? if racoons want to live the nieghborhood they must learn! dont try to sound like your a expert on racoons because your not!!!

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