A hungry raccoon is terrorizing the sleepy Bay Area town of Cupertino. It has eaten at least three housecats since Memorial Day.
At this time of year, raccoons are normally gorging themselves on plums and apricots, steering clear of domestic pets. However, heavy spring rains delayed fruit from ripening. So the raccoons are hungry--and the cats are slow.
Resident Jackie Jackson recently lost her 11-year-old cat, Tiki, to the masked menace. She let him out at 4 in the morning on Memorial Day and never saw him again...until a neighbor found his body in her yard.
"The raccoons leave the head and shoulders," Jackson told the San Jose Mercury News.
Pest control Steve Hebert said that raccoons have been know to attack animals as large as German shepherds. However, a Canadian woman recently reported being personally harrassed by raccoons.
"[T]hey come after you. [The bigger one] literally comes after you. It chases you and growls at you. I've literally had to run away and jump into a car," said Anita Eastcott, who lives in the Vancouver area.
She said the raccoon was about as big a medium-sized dog, a report that urban wildlife specialist Robert Boelens said might have been exaggerated due to "the vividness of the experience."
Still, there's no denying that raccoons, particularly young male ones, can be dangerous to people and pets alike.
"Urban males are the thugs," said Steve Hebert.
"It's like a bunch of teenagers running loose," agreed Boelens.
So for now at least, Cupertino cat-owners are keeping their pets indoors.
-The Racoons around here are always getting cats, if they can catch them. They should consider themselves lucky if this is a rare event.
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