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WHEN RACCOONS ATTACK: Woman Says Critters Chased, Attacked Her At Fort Steilacoom Park

The 28-year-old victim was walking her dog Monday at the trail along the Lakewood park. She is recovering, but "for a child or elderly person, it could have been life-threatening," her boyfriend says.

LAKEWOOD, WA -- Vicious.

That's the only way to describe the raccoons that chased and scratched a woman at a local park Monday, her boyfriend says.

The victim, Michaela Lee, 28, was recovering with a generous dose of antibiotics and much-needed rest Tuesday.

Her ordeal was anything but peaceful around 1:30 p.m. Monday as she was walking her dog along a trail at close to where she lives.

"They came barreling after her," her boyfriend, Shane Bennett, told Patch on Tuesday.

According to Bennett and accounts from Lakewood Police, Lee was walking her dog when they encountered a pair of raccoons on the trail. The dog chased the animals up a tree, and Lee went to go get her dog.

Then a trio of raccoons jumped out of the nearby brush and began chasing the woman.

"She took off running with several raccoons chasing her as she ran away," Lakewood Police spokesman Chris Lawler said. "She made it about 75 feet to a neighbor's yard and was knocked down, tripped or fell."

At that point, the raccoons--which by now numbered six or seven--began to attack. One jumped on top of her, scratching and clawing all up and down her legs and arms. One raccoon tried to get to her face, but she managed to throw it off as it scratched her wrists.

In all, the attack lasted some 20 seconds--the longest 20 seconds of the nursing student's life.

The animals finally relented and a neighbor called an ambulance. Lee was transported to a nearby hospital.

The damage total: 16 different puncture wounds, numerous scratches, bruising, five staples each in her arm and leg, countless antibiotics and rabies shots.

Despite all that, Bennett says Lee is doing well. Media have been converging all day at their home and Fort Steilacoom Park.

Bennett says he and Lee aren't looking for sympathy. They just want to make sure it never happens to anyone else walking the trail.

They say Lee was lucky.

"For a child or elderly person, it could have been life-threatening," Bennett said.

They also hope park users will refrain from illegally feeding the raccoons, which they say encourages potentially dangerous human interaction.

(Lee spoke to KIRO. Click here to watch the video)

Patch will have more on this story as information becomes available.

BigJoe July 15, 2012 at 04:47 PM
that is one the most arrogant retarded things i have ever read in my entire life you people on here are sure some quacks i always heard about people wanting animals rights an never thought much about it but i got on here an read these things an realize how stupid you all are u are one group of people i would never wanna be part of thanks for lettin me see how dumb u all really are!
MJ July 15, 2012 at 04:59 PM
@ BigJoe seriously? Your comment was all one sentence, and you are calling us retarded and dumb. So glad to see the educational system in Lakewood is not letting us down.
tamarya July 15, 2012 at 05:10 PM
In this article it states she was receiving the rabies shots, for them to test them they are killed and they test the brain. So most likely if they confirmed they were not rabid either one or all were killed and confirmed it.
vault July 15, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Big Joe your hateful narrow minded remark proves my point that some animals are worth more than hateful spiteful humans that can't respect mother nature.Some humans act more like animals than the raccoons.Also it has nothing to do with animal rights it now has more to do with if you can't control your dog you shouldn't be out walking it.We can't blame the dog it's their nature to chase things we can't blame the raccoons they were only protecting their self.So we should blame the human who has not trained their dog properly .Also if her dog would chase something the size of a raccoon it would also chase a cat or another small dog.
robert linkens July 15, 2012 at 06:02 PM
How true I live in an area that supports both humans and the woodland creatures that were here before us 31 years and no one around here has been attacked!!!! no dogs running without leashes either
pjnestor July 15, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Sound like she brought it on herself. No excuse to let your dog run wild harassing wild life. This probably never would of happened if she had better control of her animal, the raccoons were only protecting one of their own from a threat.
CaptainRescueOne July 15, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Last case of rabies I saw was a cat! I have delt with wildlife all my life, and NEVER heard of raccoons traveling in packs!!! Maybe we were seeing in multiples! Angry momma would definately attack if she felt her babbies were i harms way. Raccoons like people sometimes get up during our daytme to go pee or get a snack just like we might do during our night time.
Another Poetlake July 15, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Racoons are mostly nocturnal & anytime you see one during the day you deffinately want to avoid them as that is an indication they might (I say might) be rabid. Feeding them is really a no-no. Racoons thay have been fed around human habitat have been known to shred screen doors, break into storage sheds, garages & basement windows in search of food. Once they associate human = food they are apt to pursue that theory to disasterous ends. i am surprised the local animal people have not tried to capture them and relocate them to a less populace area. Although it would be better if we humans were less naive about the enviorenments we we invade.
SESZOO July 15, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Time to l\\ rid of the dog Time to get rid of the dog, There is no way either one of my dogs would let anything attack any member of our household Granted the dog shouldn't have chased them up a tree but animals are still animals and if you don't keep them under control you suffer the consequences .The dog should have been next to the owner to protect her ,maybe next time she'll keep the dog under her control. and then not have to worry about being ganged up on by wildlife
mactownfun July 15, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Now somewhere in the black mountain hills of Dakota, there lived a young boy named Rocky Raccoon.....
Bunny69 July 15, 2012 at 11:18 PM
About 18 years ago when my husband and I were camping at Cuyamaca, a family of raccoons (mom, dad, and several little ones) decided to raid our ice chest in the middle of the night. They took off with a box of Cheez-its (my hubby"s favs), a pack of Oreos, and a container of potato salad. My hubby, ever the macho man, went after the 'coons but was outmatched by the "daddy" 'coon who really wanted those Cheez-its for himself. Needless to say, we never went camping there again and somewhere in the hills of Cuyamaca is a rotting empty Tupperware container which once held my potato salad....
Texas NDN July 16, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Allison Hunter, you are so bad ! LOL Love your post. Thanks for the chuckle.
Faith Devine July 16, 2012 at 12:08 AM
A lease? I don't know.... Making your dog pay rent seems a little harsh!
L. Pafumi July 16, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Not necessarily so. Most times raccoons out during the day are mothers. They leave the babies in their nests, and go forage for themselves - and, I suppose, get some peace and quiet, too. We have lots of mother raccoons on our property. When babies are too young to be taken out for their first stroll it's the mother who is out on her own - during daylight. If they trust you and feel protected, they will bring the babies out to you and be unfazed by your presence near them. I've seen this behaviour for over 12 yrs. now. I wish people would stop moving to or walking into wild animals' territory, and then get hysterical when they see them in their own habitat!
MJ July 16, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Tamarya, The shots were given as a precaution, not because there was a concern for rabies. the racoons were not killed.
George July 16, 2012 at 02:47 AM
What kind of dope are you smoking? Is that a permanent fantasy world you are living in? Do you actually think that racoons have enough brains and common sense to plan an attack on a human being because her dog chased 2 of their buddies? You have got to be kidding me. They only thing funnier than that is Obama's healthcare plan. Racoons like most animals do things out of habit, or in some cases when they are sick, (rabies) they act and do crazy things. Put away the glue bottle and come back to reality.
tamarya July 16, 2012 at 03:35 AM
They obviously did not get the 5 cases in the lehigh valley area in the last yr. Make that 6, near the poconos a beaver attacked in july of 2011, beaver was killed and tested positive, in oct of 2011 3 skunk attacks occurred unprovoked in allentown, pa all tested positive for rabies, just within the last 3 months 2 foxes attacked, however 3 were killed, the 2 attacking ones and the 3rd one all tested positive for rabies.
Mary Smith July 16, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Oh my God, Tamarya!!! GIVE IT A REST!!!! You are obsessed with rabies and killing!!! YOU NEED HELP!! The raccoons weren't rabid!!! This article is not about rabid animals attacking!! It's NOT about shooting and killing!!! What is WRONG with you!!! Get off your damn soapbox, and get back to the ACTUAL topic!! The WOMAN is responsible for what happened!! SHE DIDN'T CONTROL HER DOG!!! The raccoons were protecting themselves against her stupidity!!! If you don't have something worthwhile to contribute to this discussion, STOP posting here and go find another article on which to continue your senseless rant!
ElliotU July 16, 2012 at 05:52 AM
Racoons sleep during the day unless they they have rabies
Rose H. July 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM
I have a family of racoons that come to my patio door at night and early morning they are feed caat food they love it..It has been so hot because of the weather i made sure there was plenty of water they couldnt turn over that i put in a gallon ice cream buckets' they love it they feed from my hands the mother doesnt mind she first use to grunt a litttle letting her little ones know not to get to close to me but now she doesn't' I love wild life and all animails I feed the squairls and birds and stray cats to.Iv'e only saw one skunk so far ewww but i left that beatuiful creature alone.. and I've had one possum' I see nothing wrong with what I'm doing but helping until they can go on their own. every cat I've ever had was a stray and became great house kittys' So people help a little don't be so scared they want hurt you if you dont hurt them.. they now if your mean or not they have instincts like we do or like a dog would have,,, love nature I doooo very much!!!
Cody July 17, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Wow the vast majority of you guys know nothing about raccoons. Rabies is really rare in raccoons, however if you get bit you will still get rabies shots as a precaution. I grew up on a farm in the mountains where we hunted raccoons with hounds for sport. The only ones we killed were if the dog caught them before they treed them. In all the years I spent hunting, I was never attacked by a raccoon. But just like any wild animal they will hold their ground when threatened. I suppose there will be plenty of comments calling me a redneck after this. Haha. But people, before you talk about something, please be educated on the topic at hand.
Rose H. July 17, 2012 at 08:58 AM
I hate hunters there is plenty of food in the stores to eat' get some grocery's and stop killing our wild life' especially for sport'' yeah that gets a BIG REDNECK!!! from me'(CODY)' so did I grow up on a farm but left the wild life alone'' they are beautiful animals'
Cody July 17, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Rose, I guess you missed the part where I said I never killed them. If the dogs caught them then there is nothing I could do. But it was never by my intentional doing. But I suppose you missed the part in the bible about animals being put here for our use for nourishment. Do I believe in needlessly killing an animal for no reason? Absolutely not. I would consider myself a conservationist type person. But take deer for example: if left to just continually multiply with out a population control, disease such as Chronic Wasting Disease can easily spread. Look up that disease and tell me whether that is more humane than hunting. I don't agree with killing needlessly, but without population management it would have ill effects on all of us. And I enjoy deer hunting but I don't eat the meat very much so I donate the meat to homeless shelters or an organization called Hunters for the Hungry. So I suppose I should stop hunting and helping those less fortunate than myself. I'm also in the military, which you probably also don't agree with. Maybe I should stop being patriotic and trying to do good for our country while I'm at it?
Cody July 17, 2012 at 03:37 PM
And also, I may be a "Big Redneck" to you... But if you'd like sometime, we can discuss the importance of proper grammar and punctuation. Your posts are somewhat hard to follow. You see, punctuation is the difference in: "Helping your uncle jack off a horse." and "Helping your Uncle Jack, off a horse."
Rose H. July 18, 2012 at 09:56 AM
Cody' I appreciate you fighting for our country. I thank you for that and respect you. I just love all animals and I hate hearing of them getting killed for nothing. Have you ever watched the show powder? If you hadn't you should. It's very sad, but it shows something you should see.A deer gets shot and this young man called powder grabs the man that shot him and showed him what that animal felt when it was dieing. he never carried another gun and got rid of ever gun in his home. Your not such a RED NECK that I thought you where. (sorry) But I really appreciate your comment to me. Except my punctuation.WE don't have to dicuss that. stay cool and stay safe. May God bless you for what your doing for our country.
tamarya July 19, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Why don't you give it a rest Mary, with your assumption the dog was not on a leash! The main point is the dog went after the raccoons and the woman tried to intervene, either to protect the raccoons or her dog. And this was not a small dog either or the raccoons probably would have attacked the dog. As for me saying about rabies, to the ones saying rabies is rare, do you really think they would use a rabies vaccine as a precaution? Because if they would,you would be vaccinated for every type of bite, including dogs and cats. And even if the raccoons were protecting themselves, you seemed to fail to miss the injuries that they do a little more damage than just a single bite.
tamarya July 19, 2012 at 02:27 AM
And for rose, you think you are helping animals by shopping at a grocery store? If you are buying meat you are contributing to alot more animal abuse than anything. Do some research on the filthy enviroment they get shoved in, the overcrowding of them and the way they are tortured and pumped with stuff, just supposedly for our safety. The most humane meat scavenger is a hunter. Because they do not torment or put their animals in filth before they kill them. Surprisingly our meat in stores still comes from animals, so do not put him down for something he does that is beneficial for his family, and probably alot healthier for his family also.
Mary Smith July 19, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Oh my dear Tamarya ... perhaps you need to improve your reading skills. The article clearly states, “The dog chased the animals up a tree, and Lee went to go get her dog.” One does not need to “go get” one’s dog if one has the dog under control on a leash to begin with. Therefore, it is not an “assumption” on my part. It’s a statement of fact. You criticize me for “assuming”, yet YOU assume “this was not a small dog either or the raccoons probably would have attacked the dog”. I believe that was actually TWO assumptions on your part! Best you perfect your own statements before criticizing those of others. As for your references to rabies in EVERY one of your posts, proper medical protocol absolutely calls for precautionary rabies shots in cases where the animal(s) cannot be caught and tested. You are correct when you say “the main point is the dog went after the raccoons and the woman tried to intervene”. I believe NONE of this would have happened if the woman had control of her dog. Control would have prevented the dog from being able to chase the raccoons in the first place. I suppose we will just have to agree to disagree. It would be my wish that if you, yourself, have a dog, you will always maintain control of that dog with a leash. You seem like a nice lady with very passionate beliefs. I would like you to remain safe, should you ever find yourself in a similar situation. My best to you, Tamarya, and good evening.
tamarya July 19, 2012 at 05:03 AM
No we do not have a dog, no interest in owning one either.And I do agree even if the dog did break free from her if it was trained it would have stopped. Our dog we had when I was a kid pulled out of her collar a few times when walking at the canal when she would see the ducks in the canal, all my mom had to say was "get back here" and she never continued chasing them.But then again if she would have gotten loose with animals capable of defending themselves my mom would have not walked right up to the dog and animals either.
JAS July 23, 2012 at 11:48 PM
A raccoon attacked my dog in our yard. It did a lot of damage to my dog. The same raccoon chased a neighbor boy. I think urban raccoons are scary!

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