A video of police repeatedly running over a raccoon for about 15 minutes in Coeymans, New York, on March 12 has caused outrage.
Bryanna Catucci posted the video on Facebook with a caption:
Leaving the grocery store to find 2 cops charging at a raccoon in a car for 15 minutes until dead:/ you would think if it had rabies they would shoot him instead of torturing. Sad day.
The Coeymans Police Department issued a statement on Facebook in which it claimed the raccoon had rabies and lectured people to vaccinate their livestock even though no one has claimed the raccoon as their livestock:
On this occasion it was determined, through investigation of the findings, that the animal, was a public hazard and would require being euthanized, as any wild animal that was suspected to be rabid, in such a situation.
With the normal course of action being dispatched by firearm, this was deemed as an invalid option, based on the location being heavily traversed by both vehicle and people, and the probability of a ricochet of the projectile, to be too great a hazard to both the citizenry, and property in the area.
The animal was dispatched by vehicle after contemplation of all the above, resulting in a video of the same being posted to social media, garnering a host of mostly negative responses.
We understand that this is not easy to watch, however The Town of Coeymans Police Department, and the Officers involved acted without malice or contempt, and without another remedy acted only with the Publics wellbeing in mind. Based on the above it was the safest way to remove the immediate hazard, given the circumstances presented.
Rabies is a deadly virus that infects the central nervous system of mammals, including humans. It is most common in bats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks. Rabies is primarily transmitted by a bite. However, there is risk of infection if saliva or nerve tissue from a rabid animal gets into someone’s eyes, nose, or mouth or into an open wound.
While as anomalous as this incident was, the Town of Coeymans Police Department is committed to developing and implementing a less visceral and safer solution to any such incidents going forward.
We further would ask that this incident reiterate the importance of annual Rabies vaccinations for pets and livestock.