Two raccoon attacks investigated in Arlington

File photo of raccoons

By Kristen Holmes

ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - Two unprovoked raccoon attacks have Arlington residents on alert.

"It's disturbing," said Sandra Alboum, who was attacked by a raccoon Monday night. Alboum was on the porch playing with her 4-year-old daughter when a raccoon crawled up to her. "Out of the corner of my eye I saw a raccoon. He walked up to me quickly and as I'm stepping away from it... he starts mauling my ankle."

Alboum, who lives neard 22nd Street North and Quantico Street, grabbed a dominoes game box that was sitting on the nearby table and started whacking the animal until it scurried away. After calling 911, the 39-year-old mother of two was taken to the hospital. There she was treated for rabies, receiving nine shots. Alboum will need to get a total of 12 shots in the coming weeks as a preventative measure.

The second attack happened near 25th Street North and George Mason Drive, when an unidentified pregnant woman was walking with her baby and was attacked out of the blue. She was also treated for rabies.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) was called to both events but was unable to locate the dangerous raccoon. Representatives from the AWLA are not positive that the raccoon carried rabies.

"Innocent until proven guilty, we say," said Kimberly Corcoran, the Deputy Animal Control Officer. Corcoran explained that the descriptions of the animal did not match those of a sick animal, and said there may be another reason for the raccoon's comfortable nature around humans. "I think it's someone who has been feeding the raccoons."

However, Corcoran did list what to be on the look out for when interacting with wildlife. "An animal that's sick is an animal that's staggering - you might see wounds on it. It looks like it might have had too many cocktails."

According to Corcoran, if you seen any animals acting this way, residents should call the Animal Welfare League immediately.

If locals are worried about raccoon infestation, Corcoran suggests not feeding the wild animals as well as using a bungee cord to secure trash can lids shut.