The attack on my neighbor by raccoons was horrendous (TNT, 7-11), and my heart goes out to her. But we need to understand our responsibility to residential wildlife.
First, we are the encroachers. We have developed this area until there is little refuge left; the remaining wildlife survive by living near us, not by choice but by necessity.
There once were two dozen raccoons that roamed my area. Now there are five, with only two or three kits among them. Coyotes, dogs, starvation and cars have seen to that.
We have to be aware when we step into their turf. The path that Michaela Lee was attacked on cuts right through a part of the park where the raccoons have lived for generations. Deer, coyotes, and feral dogs and cats roam the area where many people walk their dogs. It’s a good idea to carry a walking stick to ward off unwanted advances by both wild and domesticated critters.
Walkers also must maintain control of their dogs. The raccoons, which normally run away from dogs and humans, did not attack until the kits were threatened by a charging dog that got away from its handler.
If that does happen, let nature take its course. I know the instinct is to extricate your pet, but that puts you in danger, too.
If we are to enjoy what little wildlife there is left in this area, we must understand and adapt to it as it struggles to adapt to us.