Woman recovers from raccoon 'gang attack'

Oct. 5, 2009 at 12:08 PM

LAKELAND, Fla., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A Lakeland, Fla., woman was recovering from serious injuries she received in what sheriff's department investigators called a "gang attack" by five raccoons.

Polk Count Sheriff Grady Judd said Gretchen Whitted, 74, was trying to scatter the raccoons from her front door when they turned on her, WTSP-TV, Tampa, Fla., reported.

"When she fell down, they enveloped her," Judd said of the attack. "She's literally bitten and scratched from face and the chest all the way down through the legs."

Raccoons can be aggressive when going after food, but the sheriff called Saturday's attack very unusual, the television station said

"Not in all my years in Florida have I known of a gang attack by raccoons on an individual," Judd said Sunday during a news conference to warn of aggressive raccoons.

Polk County Animal Control officers placed traps throughout the neighborhood, hoping to trap the raccoons involved in the attack, Judd said, adding that officials won't know if they catch the actual culprits. If caught, the animals will be tested for rabies and possibly destroyed.

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