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WHEN RACCOONS ATTACK: Woman Says Critters Chased, Attacked Her At Fort Steilacoom Park

The 28-year-old victim was walking her dog Monday at the trail along the Lakewood park. She is recovering, but "for a child or elderly person, it could have been life-threatening," her boyfriend says. And definitely don't feed them.

Vicious.

That's the only way to describe the raccoons that chased and scratched a woman at a Lakewood park Monday, her boyfriend says.

The victim, Michaela Lee, 28, was recovering with a generous dose of antibiotics and much-needed rest Tuesday.

Her ordeal was anything but peaceful around 1:30 p.m. Monday as she was walking her dog along a trail at , close to where she lives.

"They came barreling after her," her boyfriend, Shane Bennett, told Patch on Tuesday.

According to Bennett and accounts from Lakewood Police, Lee was walking her dog when they encountered a pair of raccoons on the trail. The dog chased the animals up a tree, and Lee went to go get her dog.

Then a trio of raccoons jumped out of the nearby brush and began chasing the woman.

"She took off running with several raccoons chasing her as she ran away," Lakewood Police spokesman Chris Lawler said. "She made it about 75 feet to a neighbor's yard and was knocked down, tripped or fell."

At that point, the raccoons--which by now numbered six or seven--began to attack. One jumped on top of her, scratching and clawing all up and down her legs and arms. One raccoon tried to get to her face, but she managed to throw it off as it scratched her wrists.

In all, the attack lasted some 20 seconds--the longest 20 seconds of the nursing student's life.

The animals finally relented and a neighbor called an ambulance. Lee was transported to a nearby hospital.

The damage total: 16 different puncture wounds, numerous scratches, bruising, five staples each in her arm and leg, countless antibiotics and rabies shots.

Despite all that, Bennett says Lee is doing well. Media have been converging all day at their home and Fort Steilacoom Park.

Bennett says he and Lee aren't looking for sympathy. They just want to make sure it never happens to anyone else walking the trail.

They say Lee was lucky.

"For a child or elderly person, it could have been life-threatening," Bennett said.

They also hope park users will refrain from illegally feeding the raccoons, which they say encourages potentially dangerous human interaction.

(Lee spoke to KIRO. Click here to watch the video)

Patch will have more on this story as information becomes available.

Ken Campbell July 11, 2012 at 03:25 AM
I hope she is ok! Perhaps it is these racoons who sent a cougar packing to the vicinity of 58th and Alameda, sighted this morning...
Christie Anderson July 11, 2012 at 05:21 AM
Yikes!
Jill July 11, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Maybe she should have had her dog on leash. The raccoons didn't appreciate running for their lives from her dog either. This was a provoked attack. Never provoke a mama animal into defending her babies (other news accounts state this info).
Jim DeBlasio July 11, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Raccoons carry diseases and parasites that can spread to humans and pets. Ascaridiosis can be caught from dust where an infected raccoon defecated up to five years earlier, and is incurable once symptoms may be noticed. These animals are dangerous urban pests and should be given birth control shots and cut off from access to human provided food and garbage. Shooting them is innefective and inhumane but may occasionally be necessary, usually chasing them off with loud noise works well.

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