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Raccoons attack 2 residents of Metro Vancouver in less than 1 week

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WARNING: This story contains graphics.

Sarah Braim was tending her community garden plot in North Vancouver Monday evening when a raccoon ran out of a shed, chasing her small dog.

“It just tore up my dog,” she said.

Her dog, a rescue, weighs about nine kilograms. The raccoon, Braim said, was much bigger.

She said she instinctively ran after the pair and fought off the raccoon. She picked up her dog and realized that the raccoon had climbed on her back and bit her behind, legs, wrist and hand.

A woman's arms and legs are covered in wounds after an altercation with a raccoon.
Sarah Braim said she had to get stitches and a tetanus shot after a raccoon attacked her in North Vancouver. (Submitted by Sarah Braim)

Gardeners nearby came to help and fought the raccoon for the second time.

Braim said she went to the emergency room where she got stitches and a tetanus shot, while a friend took her dog to the vet.

A few days earlier, Joyce Gee was walking her three dogs in her East Vancouver neighborhood near Commercial Drive when she said a raccoon was “shooting out of the bushes.”

It started attacking one of her dogs, so she started kicking it in an attempt to fight the creature.

It bit her ankle, and as she backed off, she tripped and fell to the ground, injuring her back. The raccoon jumped on her hand, bit her finger and started biting her leg.

“I kept thinking, ‘This isn’t real, this isn’t real,’” she said At the coast host Gloria Macarenko.

LISTENING | East Vancouver woman talks about raccoon attack

At the coast6:46East Vancouver woman attacked by raccoon

Joyce Gee, an East Vancouver woman, recovers from an altercation with an angry raccoon.

Eventually, she said, other neighbors came out and chased the raccoon away.

Now recovering from the attack, Gee says she wants the city of Vancouver or the county to do something — anything — about aggressive wildlife to protect people and their pets.

The muzzle of a dog covered with wounds.
Sarah Braim’s dog suffered stab wounds to his face during a raccoon attack. (Submitted by Sarah Braim)

Gee says she called the city to ask what could be done but was quickly passed on to the county, who gave her the BC Conservation Officer Service phone number.

When she called them, their mailbox was full.

Braim says she contacted wildlife conservation and spoke to someone, but was told another officer would call back shortly.

They never did, even after Braim called the mainline again to inquire about the follow-up call.

A woman wearing a surgical mask holds up her arm to show cuts on her wrist.
Sarah Braim had to go to the emergency room after a raccoon attacked her and her dog on Monday. (Submitted by Sarah Braim)

A spokesman for the city of Vancouver told CBC that wildlife attacks fall under the county’s jurisdiction. Animal Protection is responsible for handling pets.

The BC Department of the Environment says raccoons are also not specifically under the purview of the conservation agency, which deals with attacks by bears, cougars, wolves and coyotes.

“In BC, raccoons are considered a ‘pest’, meaning residents can turn to municipalities or licensed pest control companies for options,” the ministry said in an emailed statement to CBC.

WildSafeBC says it is hard for individuals to catch and rehome raccoons, and recommends hiring a qualified pest control company to assist.

‘These animals have every right to be here’

Braim fears calling in officials will lead to a cull, similar to what happened in Vancouver last year when coyotes attacked people and their pets.

She says she recognizes that human activity has displaced raccoons and other wildlife, and doesn’t want to see them disturbed further.

A raccoon in Vancouver’s Stanley Park eats pet food left behind by humans. WildSafeBC recommends hiring a qualified pest control company to help capture and move raccoons. (David Horemans/CBC)

“I feel so bad that these animals are portrayed as these horrible creatures,” she said.

“These animals have every right to be here.”

However, she says she hopes someone has been able to rehome the raccoon that attacked her, as she suspects he had puppies, making him more protective and aggressive.

“What do we do with their homes? All these animals have nowhere to go because of us,” Braim said.

She warns other pet owners not to leave dogs tied up outside in case a raccoon should attack.

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