ALAMEDA (CBS 5 / BCN) — A raccoon attack on a woman and her dog in Alameda on Sunday night has made officials worry that aggressive animals might be a growing trend in urban areas.

Rachel Campos de Ivanov, 33, was walking her 20-pound Yorkshire terrier at about 11 p.m. Sunday night near Washington Park when a raccoon approached her.

“She first saw glowing eyes in the dark,” said Daniel Wilson, community relations coordinator for Alameda County Vector Control Services District, which responded to the report of the attack.

After seeing the raccoon, Ivanov ran away as her dog started barking at it. Several other raccoons joined in pursuit of Ivanov, who then tripped, fell onto the pavement, and was bitten by one of them.

“She felt really threatened for her and her dog,” Wilson said.

Ivanov stumbled back to her feet and fled the scene. She was given a round of post-exposure rabies injections.

“If we’re able to locate the specific animal, it would be trapped and euthanized and tested for rabies,” Wilson said, adding that testing a euthanized raccoon would be cheaper than giving injections to Ivanov.

Officials have debated how to deal with the number of raccoons, possums and skunks in urban cities, Wilson said.

“As far as trapping nuisance animals — and raccoons fall under that category — they can be trapped and humanely euthanized,” he said. “But people don’t think just because they’re going through their trash can and tearing up your lawn that there should be a death sentence.”

Vector control investigators found numerous trash cans and Dumpsters left open where Ivanov was attacked.

“People have gotten really careless with handling their refuse. It’s a human problem, and it’s affecting the wildlife,” Wilson said.

Nine raccoon attacks have been reported since this summer.

“I really don’t think you should be in fear of something happening to you from walking your dog at night, but it’s just a new phenomenon,” Wilson said.

(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

Comments (5)
  1. John Myers says:

    Raccoons in urban areas are a huge but ignored threat to public health as carriers of the raccoon roundworm, “Baylisascaris Procyonis” It is carried in approximately 75% of the urban raccoon population and is a severe biological hazard as the eggs are expelled in their feces, are viable for years, are extremely difficult to kill, are dangerous to most animals as well as humans and are found where most people least expect. A good example would be a raccoon “latrine” in the valley of your roof where rain would wash the eggs into downspouts then perhaps onto your driveway where even years later the microscopic eggs can be accidentally inhaled while sweeping your driveway, or tracked onto your carpets etc.
    People should do everything possible to discourage raccoons around the home, and absolutely do not feed them!

  2. bette page says:

    i love animals but this mother and her kits need to be euthanized. I lived 2 blocks away from this attack a few years ago and she (or maybe the current ones grandma) kept coming into my backyard and destroying a koi pond.

    We decided to confront them one night: we turned on the light and opened the back door and mom and three very fat kits snarled and charged us.

    We called alameda animal contro and they said not our problem: find a private compnay on our own nickle to trap and remove them.

    So, its no surprise to me that they next generation is now agressivelyattacking others.

  3. Elizabetta says:

    Raccoons are less than knee high and they will run away if you charge them while making a threatening noise, Good thing these people didn’t live back in the day when there were bears and wolves and truly dangerous critters around. Running away from an animal is always the wrong thing to do. Even a mouse will chase you if you run away from it. Grow a spine! However, I do agree that people need to stop feeding them and not allow them to live close to their houses due to sanitation issues.

  4. bette page says:

    Again, you don’t live here and haven’t see them: These are not the small critters you see in zoos or the wilds of Wisconsin ( where I grew up.) The are HUGE – the size of small rottwiellers they have eaten off the fat of the land ( suburban garbage and fruit trees.) You would need s dog kennel to trap these guys, they wouldn’t fit in a cat carrier. And they travel in packs, not solitary animals.

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