Nova Scotia

Man, dog injured after being attacked by raccoon in Sydney

A man and his dog were injured over the weekend after an encounter with an aggressive raccoon in Sydney, N.S. Kiel and Nicole MacGibbon want to raise awareness for other pet owners to never leave their pets unattended.

Raccoons not known for attacking pets, says wildlife biologist

Nicole MacGibbon and her husband, Kiel, are raising awareness about the dangers of leaving small pets unattended after a raccoon attacked their Yorkshire terrier. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

A man and his dog were injured over the weekend after an encounter with an aggressive raccoon in Sydney, N.S.

Nicole MacGibbon said it happened early Sunday morning when her husband, Kiel, let their Yorkshire terrier Sam out to the backyard. The raccoon then bit her dog in the back.

"I woke up when I heard shouting and the sounds of animals shrieking ... My husband realized what had happened, he immediately grabbed the raccoon and pulled it off of her," said MacGibbon. 

"The raccoon was so startled and basically just freaked out and became aggressive toward my husband and bit his hands and scratched up his legs and his head as well."

The encounter lasted less than a minute.

Kiel MacGibbon received a tetanus shot after he pulled a raccoon off of his Yorkshire terrier. Sam received treatment at a vet. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

"I was worried about Sam's life and [I wanted to make] sure she was OK, so I just wanted to get the animal off as quick as I could," said Kiel MacGibbon.

Nicole MacGibbon said her husband received a tetanus shot and Sam was checked over by a vet. 

She said they'll now be taking extra precautions to protect their two small dogs.

"We'll definitely be more aware, install some better lighting in our backyard, and just be more vigilant, and to hopefully make others more aware as well to never leave your pets unattended, even for a minute," she said.

"I feel bad for the raccoon because he was probably startled, and he may have been sick to behave so aggressively."

Nicole MacGibbon says she will now be keeping a much closer eye on her dogs while they are in the yard. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

Mike Boudreau is a human wildlife conflict biologist with the Department of Lands and Forestry. He said raccoons are not known for attacking pets, but they will get defensive if they see another animal as a threat to their food source.

"If someone is feeding their dog outside or there is food like bird seed outside and the pet happens to come close, the raccoon will obviously try to defend itself and or defend the food it's trying to access," said Boudreau.

He said one way to try and keep raccoons away from their property is to ensure there is nothing that is considered food outside of their homes.

"Don't encourage feeding them, don't directly feed raccoons. They do carry some parasites that are problematic to both pets and to people," he said.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority contacted MacGibbon to make sure her husband received a rabies vaccination after the incident. Her dog already had the vaccination.


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