A MACROOM woman has spoken of the “awful fright” she received after seeing a raccoon sitting up on the table in her back garden on Monday.
Maureen Blight was speaking to the Evening Echo after Wildlife Services caught the North American animal which had been visiting her garden every day for the past week.
It follows reported sightings of other raccoons by residents across mid-Cork in recent days and weeks.
Mr Blight said she and her dogs were confined to the house for seven days until the raccoon was caught.
“The dogs were going demented, they had nowhere to run around. I couldn’t let them out after dark and it gets dark around 5.30pm.”
Ms Blight said not everyone believed her when she told people there was a raccoon in her garden.
“There was people saying masses for me and everything. They thought I had lost my mind.”
Maureen said she didn’t know what she had seen at first, but then she went on the internet and when she realised it was a raccoon from North America, she rang her vet.
The vet told her to call the Department of Agriculture in Cork, who gave her a Dublin number to call, which then put her in contact with wildlife services in Macroom.
Maureen, who also spoke to Neil Prendeville on Cork’s RedFM, said the raccoon, which has since been put down by wildlife services, was a beautiful creature, but unfortunately was very vicious and she had been told by the services, he would attack people and dogs.
“I’m sorry he’s after being put down, but he is a wild animal from North America.
“Raccoons won’t hibernate in Ireland, it is not cold enough, so they keep eating and eating and waiting for the winter and it never comes. That is cruelty in itself.”
Maureen said that her two dogs were terrified by the animal and she was afraid the raccoon would attack them so she was keeping her mongrel terrier and Shih Tzo inside.
“I have only a small garden and two small dogs that need space. I can’t have a raccoon coming in. I hope I never see a raccoon again,” she added.