Raccoons attack 2 Metro Vancouver residents in less than 1 week
WARNING: This story contains graphic images.
Sarah Braim was tending to her community garden plot in North Vancouver on Monday night when a raccoon came barrelling out from behind a shed, chasing after her small dog.
"It just mauled my dog," she said.
Her dog, a rescue, weighs about nine kilograms. The raccoon, Braim said, was much larger.
She said she instinctively ran after the pair and fought off the raccoon. She picked up her dog — and realized the raccoon had climbed her back and was biting her rear, legs, wrist and hand.
Nearby gardeners came over to help and fought off the raccoon a second time.
Braim said she went to the emergency room where she received 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 neighbourhood near Commercial Drive, when she says a raccoon "shot out of the bushes."
It started to attack one of her dogs, so she started to kick it in an attempt to fight off the creature.
It bit her ankle, and as she backed away 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 is not real, this is not real,'" she told On the Coast host Gloria Macarenko.
LISTEN | East Vancouver woman recounts raccoon attack
Eventually, she said, other neighbours came out and scared the raccoon away.
Now recovering from the attack, Gee says she wants the City of Vancouver or the province to do something — anything — about aggressive wildlife to protect people and their pets.
Gee says she did call the City to ask about what could be done, but was quickly passed on to the province, who gave her the phone number for the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
When she called them, their mailbox was full.
Braim says she contacted the conservation officer service and spoke with someone, but was told another officer would call back shortly.
They never did, even after Braim called the main line again to inquire about the follow-up call.
A spokesperson with the City of Vancouver told CBC that wildlife attacks are the province's jurisdiction. Animal control officers are responsible for dealing with domestic animals.
B.C.'s Ministry of Environment says raccoons specifically don't fall under the purview of the conservation officer service, either, which deals with attacks by bears, cougars, wolves and coyotes.
"In B.C., raccoons are considered a 'pest species' which means residents are able to turn to municipalities or accredited pest management companies for options," the ministry said in an emailed statement to CBC.
WildSafeBC says it's difficult for individuals to trap and relocate raccoons, and recommends hiring a qualified pest management company to assist.
'These animals have every right to be here'
Braim worries getting officials involved will lead to a cull, similar to what happened in Vancouver last year when coyotes were attacking people and their pets.
She says she recognizes human activity has displaced raccoons and other wildlife, and doesn't want to see them disturbed further.
"I feel so bad that these animals get painted as these horrible creatures," she said.
"These animals have every right to be here."
However, she says she hopes someone was able to relocate the raccoon that attacked her, because she suspects it had pups, making it more protective and aggressive.
"What are we doing to their homes? All these animals have nowhere to go because of us," Braim said.
She's warning other pet owners not to leave dogs tied up outside in case a raccoon were to attack.