95-year-old woman attacked by raccoon ends up in hospital
Merrijoy Kelner walks 7000 steps every morning.
A Torontonian was attacked by a raccoon during a his morning walks. If the animal was eventually captured and found to be free of rabies, this raises questions about the resurgence of these attacks.
Nothing could distract Merrijoy Kelner, 95, from her morning stroll, not even a feisty raccoon.
On January 31, despite the cold, she began her daily ritual of doing 7000 steps. Walking sticks in hand, she headed for Taddle Creek Park in Toronto.
Halfway through, the walk however, took another turn, much less pleasant. A raccoon ran after her before grabbing her leg and biting her.
I was in shock. I didn't even know what animal it was. I should have hit him with my stick, but I was so stunned I didn't even think about it, and he kept biting me, she says.
Luckily for her, a passerby forcibly removed the animal. A crowd has also formed around her.
Sarah Potts lives near the park and witnessed the scene. She explains that she noticed that the animal had a strange behavior shortly before seeing it attack.
She explains that she saw the raccoon in a very strange state, running on the road and biting cars.
I felt bad for him and I felt bad for [Ms. Kelner], she said.
Susan McIlroy, who is in charge of controlling a pedestrian crossing in the area, had already contacted the services of the City to report the behavior of the mammal.
She explains that animal services later arrived and captured the raccoon. Then they took him for tests.
Merrijoy Kelner was taken to the emergency room, her leg pierced by five bite wounds.
One of the bites was really deep, the others weren't too bad, she explains.
As a precaution, she received a rabies vaccine in each of the wounds. The following day, the City's animal services were able to allay his fear. The animal had been tested and was free of rabies.
Merrijoy Kelner has since reported a good recovery.
I am grateful to be in good health and to be able to recover from this type of attack, she adds.
Toronto Public Health indicates that during the period from January 1 to March 8, she received 42 reports of raccoons.
For comparison, over the same period over the last five years, the figures indicate an average of 12 reports.
Several raccoons in Toronto have distemper.
Toronto Animal Services says there has been an increase in requests to intervene in raccoon cases sick or injured in the city center.
According to them, the reason lies largely in the spread of distemper, a condition that then causes these animals to s' approach humans. This disease makes them lethargic, disoriented and aggressive when cornered.
Often fatal, this disease attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of raccoons .
With information from Meg Roberts