ARLINGTON, Va. - An Arlington neighborhood is on edge after a woman was attacked by a raccoon in her own backyard, and it is not the first time this type of incident has happened in recent months.
There have been several sightings of raccoons in the Fairlington area and at least two violent attacks since June. Some residents here are concerned for their safety, especially at night.
One woman living on 29th Street S was scratched and bitten by raccoons while she was in her backyard in June. The incident sparked a community meeting on how to safely interact with wildlife.
But last Sunday night, two raccoons jumped on another woman in her backyard on 28th Street while she was taking out the trash.
Bonnie Crouch told FOX 5 her husband heard the screams and came out to help. He ended up fighting the raccoons off the woman with a broom. Crouch, a nurse, helped tend to the victim’s injuries afterwards.
“They mauled her,” said Crouch. “The poor thing – I felt so bad for her. She was bloodied, scratched, bitten and scared, and she was pretty much traumatized.
The recent raccoon attack has the Crouches taking extra precautions when going out at night.
“My husband went out last night at 10:30 – he takes the broom with him, he takes the flashlight with him,” Crouch said. “We try not to let the dog off the leash at nighttime. Others that have small animals, I would be very careful.”
Both women in these attacks had to be treated for rabies even though it is unclear if the raccoons were infected.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington said it is illegal to kill or even relocate wildlife in the state of Virginia, even for animal control officers, unless the animal is ill, injured or they are certain it is the animal involved in a bite.
In both these attacks in this neighborhood, the raccoons got away.
If you encounter any wildlife in the area, authorities recommend you to stay away from them and also to make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies every year. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water, seek medical attention right away and report it to animal control.