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Deputy cites dog-owner in raccoon attack

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Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 1:20 pm

A woman walking her dog off-leash was blamed for causing a safety hazard on Wednesday afternoon after her canine attacked a raccoon near Smith Field, later forcing a San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputy to shoot and kill the wild animal.

Sheriff’s officials say lethal force would have been unnecessary if the dog owner had taken better control of her animal.

The unidentified woman was walking her unleashed Jack Russell terrier on Wednesday afternoon around 4:45 p.m. at the Wavecrest property. Posted signs at the property’s trailhead warn dog-walkers to leash their animals, but the rules are often ignored and not generally enforced.

During the walk, her dog reportedly bolted off to chase a raccoon, and the two animals ran to the edge of the coastal bluffs.

The animals descended about 100 feet down a steep ravine, where they were trapped in a tightly enclosed area with thick vegetation. They began attacking each other in a prolonged fight, and the dog began howling in pain.

The dog owner made an emergency call for help, saying her canine had fallen down a cliff, according to a Sheriff’s official. The Coastside Fire Protection District, the Peninsula Humane Society and the Sheriff’s Office all arrived at the scene.

By the time rescuers arrived, the raccoon had pinned the dog to the ground and was viciously biting it.

An animal-control specialist and a deputy climbed down the ravine to try and pull out the dog. The deputy tried to use his baton to push back the raccoon. After it continued attacking the dog, the deputy unholstered his firearm and killed the raccoon.

The dog had multiple cuts and bites and was returned to its owner for medical treatment. The humane society could find no indication that the raccoon had rabies, but they ordered that the dog be quarantined for an unspecified period.

Sheriff’s officials cited the woman for walking her dog off-leash.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • John Charles Ullom posted at 10:51 am on Sun, Sep 30, 2012.

    John Charles Ullom Posts: 1184

    Dog belonged to lady. Dog was being killed. Dog was saved by the Deputy.

    People come first. The cops did their job well. The only person who deserves criticism is the lady who let her dog run off leash.

  • captainjon posted at 9:29 am on Sun, Sep 30, 2012.

    captainjon Posts: 1

    It is absolutely unacceptable that my tax dollars are being used to pay the salaries of anybody with this level of incompetence. The fact that both a San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputy and a animal control specialist were incapable of handling such a situation with out killing a animal is a outrage. How is anyone expected to have any type of confidence in the ones responsible for protecting the community when neither one was able to exhibit enough inelegance to consider the possibility that just the sound of a gun shot would most certainly scare off the raccoon and should have tried a warning shot first. If the outcome is going to be the same everyone should just call Farmer Fred and have him bring his shot gun the next time something like this happens and save the county some money. I know who not to call if my cat gets stuck up a tree.

  • Lou posted at 12:05 pm on Sun, Sep 23, 2012.

    Lou Posts: 19

    While the lady might be in the wrong legally for not having her dog leashed - this place is remote and it's not like the dog was attacking an endangered species.
    Raccoons are hardly "wild" animals. They are a pest, invading back yards, attics and roofs, and should be treated as such. Open season. Just like Eucalyptus - they won't go away and only grow bigger and nastier - posing an even greater threat.
    This is the real issue here, not a citation and a small sized dog being off leash on the bluffs.
    There should be a free pass raccoon extermination, barring torture of course.

  • LitChick posted at 11:04 am on Sun, Sep 23, 2012.

    LitChick Posts: 17

    I see off leash dogs in that area all the time and I just shake my head and wonder why these people don't care about their dogs' safety. It is beyond irresponsible to let your dog run off leash in such an area for exactly this reason. That's not Disneyland out there! There are real dangers on the Coastal Trail, not the least of which is the cliff. I'm so tired of having to pick my dog up to keep her safe from off leash dogs who come bounding up while their ineffective, and frankly selfish, owners, who have zero recall or vocal control, yell after them to come back.

    I understand that we live in a completely self-centered society in which people think it's their world and the rest of us should just accept their bad behavior. I get that these law breaking, non-leash users out there don't give a crap about me or my dog, but don't you at least care about the safety of your own dog?

  • -Matt Krizan posted at 8:19 pm on Fri, Sep 21, 2012.

    -Matt Krizan Posts: 9

    I'll bite (hehehe):

    Why did the Sheriff respond at all? A dog getting attacked/ killed by a raccoon IS NOT an emergency, no matter how the dog's owner feels about it!

    Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they're charging the dog owner, but really they could have just told her "sorry, we're not responding to that" when she called emergency services in the first place.

    Also, I'd have shot the dog instead.

  • John Charles Ullom posted at 2:59 pm on Fri, Sep 21, 2012.

    John Charles Ullom Posts: 1184

    Can you imagine the horror this poor lady felt while watching her dog fight for it's life?

    I wonder if this incident has any effect on the opinions of those who just know their little fluffy would never bite somebody.

  • George posted at 2:53 pm on Fri, Sep 21, 2012.

    George Posts: 621

    Anyone that has seen any of my posts regarding leash laws knows how I feel about them.

    With that said, however, I feel compelled to ask:

    What is wrong with this picture?


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