Village residents hope raccoon”™s demise marks end of ordeal

Despite an unfortunate ending for a raccoon, residents in the north end of Rockwood are happy the animal’s apparent reign of terror is over.

Earlier this week at her Christie Street home, Kelly Jakl discovered a raccoon had climbed up to her second-storey deck and was “attacking” one of her two small Pomeranians.

“He was screaming his head off, which is how I heard it,” she said of her beloved dog.

She told the Advertiser the raccoon repeatedly “went after” the one dog until her 20-year-old son intervened, wielding a shovel, and killed the wild animal.

Luckily, her dogs were not harmed, she said.

Jakl explained she reported the incident to a Ministry of Natural Resources official, who said rabies is not a big concern but Jakl could have the raccoon tested on her own if she wanted.

“I wasn’t happy with that answer,” said Jakl. “What kind of raccoon attacks dogs in the middle of the day?”

She said she wanted to spread the word about the incident to warn others of possible similar encounters.

“I’m concerned. People need to watch their dogs.”

Jakl said friends and neigbours had reported seeing what they considered an aggressive raccoon near their homes during the day in recent weeks.

“I’m hoping it’s the same one and it’s dealt with, but you never know,” she said. “In case not, we need to keep our eyes open for our pets.”

Shelly Patterson, who runs a day care out of her home on  nearby Queen Street, said she is also hopeful it was only one raccoon causing the problems.

She said on March 11 at about 4pm a raccoon would not let a parent of one of the children in her care leave a parked vehicle.

“The raccoon was biting at her truck tires … he was the boldest raccoon I have ever seen,” said Patterson.

She tried to get the animal to leave, including attempts to throw snow at it, “But he came back up the walkway after me.”

Given the safety concerns with children in her home, she called the OPP.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Patterson.

An officer attended, she said, but considering the officer’s opinion that the animal did not have rabies and the fact it left shortly thereafter, the officer did not take any action to remove the raccoon.

OPP media relations officer Cheri Rockefeller said police have received an influx of calls lately related to wild animals approaching people or homes.

She noted the warmer weather could play a role, but  she is not sure what caused the increase. A few weeks ago, police received three calls within an hour related to a raccoon, skunk and porcupine in separate incidents throughout the county, she explained.

“Officers will attend and access the situation,” Rockefeller said.

However, she noted lethal force is a last resort, particularly in an urban area.

For now residents in northern Rockwood are just hoping the dead raccoon did not have  accomplices – of any species.