Seattle woman spends four days in hospital after raccoon attack

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by OWEN LEI / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 9, 2009 at 10:59 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 9 at 11:16 AM

SEATTLE - A Seattle woman says she's too traumatized to stay in her own home after a raccoon attack sent her and her dog to the ER.

Kelly Gilliam says she was taking her dog Winky out for a walk in Queen Anne at about 10 p.m. Monday when it happened.

"We got right about around here. All of a sudden, the raccoon, jumped out of this bush here," she said. "It had kind of cornered me, and it jumped on me one more time really hard and I fell back and I just tumbled."

Gilliam said she, the raccoon and the dog tumbled down the hill.

"It would not get off of me, I could not get away from it. I could not get away from it," she said.

Gilliam was hospitalized for four days with 12 gashes on her body.

She had to get more than a dozen rabies shots because doctors assumed the raccoon was infected.

Winky, now sporting a cone, got five staples near his tail.

And Gilliam's attacker got away.

"The police officer had the raccoon trapped in this tree right here, and was shining a light on it. I was bleeding and pretty much in hysterics and I was like, 'can you just shoot it?' and he said 'there's nothing I can do,'" she said.

State law says you cannot hunt or trap a raccoon without a permit unless it's attacking crops or domestic animals.

And even then, each city has its own wildlife restrictions.

Gilliam says she's just worried for the rest of her neighborhood.

"With all of the people, the kids, the elderly people, I'm just concerned someone was going to get way more hurt than I did," she said.

Wildlife experts say about your only option in an urban setting is to get a pest professional to catch the raccoon for you.

Washington Fish and Wildlife also warns residents to keep pet food inside, as raccoons are opportunistic scavengers.
 

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