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.