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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Adventures In the New Wild Kingdom

I went over to my parents' house the other night for dinner and my dad had an Adventure With Wildlife story. It doesn't have a sweet outcome or humor, so if you feel this might disturb you, I'd suggest skipping today's blog.

The story as told to me by my dad:

The neighbor across the street called and said he'd had a sick raccoon in his yard, but that the animal had left and gone into my parents' backyard. He warned my dad that they shouldn't go outside. It's been reported in the newspapers here that raccoons have a high infection rate for rabies, so a sick animal is definitely dangerous. The neighbor told my dad that he'd called the police.

It was about 3pm when the officer showed up. (I don't know what time the neighbor called. My dad didn't mention this, but I'm imaging it wasn't too long.) He rang my parents' doorbell and warned them that he would need to shoot the raccoon so they shouldn't become alarmed if they heard the noise.

As soon as the raccoon saw the officer, it became belligerent and tried to attack. (Which definitely makes me think rabies.) The officer shot it with a small caliber weapon. My dad said it was barely a pop. Then he gloved up and hauled the carcass away. My guess is that they'll test it for rabies, but I could be wrong about that. If they already know most of the raccoon population is infected, it might not be necessary.

This story was kind of scary to me because if the neighbor hadn't seen the raccoon, noticed it was sick, and saw it go to my parents' yard, my dad could easily have gotten bitten. He loves being outside and goes out all the time. And while he's incredibly spry for his age, I'm not sure he'd get out of the way fast enough.

I'm continually surprised by the wildlife adventures. When did suburbia become an episode of Wild Kingdom?