The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Two People Are Recovering from Recent Raccoon Attacks in Fairfax County

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Two People Are Recovering from Recent Raccoon Attacks in Fairfax County

Springfield, Virginia  - Authorities are warning residents of possible rabid raccoons after two people are recovering from recent attacks in Fairfax County.

Raccoon tracks are still visible along a creek nearby South Run Rec Center where a 75-year-old woman was attacked during her morning walk. Officials said she stopped to take a photo of the animal and it charged at her.

“It bit her severely on her right leg and it attacked both of her hands and her forearms,” said Fairfax County Animal Control Sgt. Mary Zambrano.

Her bloody handprints mark the railing along the footbridge. The raccoon eventually ran off and two joggers came to her aide. An ambulance took the victim to the hospital to be treated for rabies exposure.

“If there is an animal that is vocalizing, whether it is whimpering, crying, that is wet or heavily matted, that might have an obvious injury or bite wound, a lot of times they will act like they are drunk and disoriented and they will stagger around -- those are classic symptoms of an animal that might have rabies,” said Sgt. Zambrano.

The attack happened on the trail not far from the Lee Chapel Road overpass between Burke Lake and South Run parks where children play just steps from the woods.

The trail has been closed to the public, but we saw some bike riders and joggers ignoring the signs notifying people of the closure.

“I've been running on this trail for about ten years and this is the first time I have ever seen this happen,” a resident told us. “I have never seen the trail closed.”

Just a few miles away in the Kings Park area, a man out gardening on Sunday was viciously attacked by a raccoon which later tested positive for rabies.

While it is not uncommon to spot raccoons, even during the daytime, residents are asked to look for signs that any area wildlife may be sick.

“They are attracted to movement and to noise,” said Zambrano. “If you have the ability to take a big step back and turn and run, you definitely want to get away from the animal. But if it is right there at your feet … you can use your shoes to protect yourself and kick it away from you and leave as quickly as possible.”

Falls Church has also issued a rabies alert after a spike in raccoon attacks in the city. Police say a rabid raccoon was euthanized after an attack on two dogs on June 4 in the 100 block of E. Jefferson Street.

For more information about rabies and what to do if an animal bites you, go to


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