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OLYMPIA, Washington (AP) -- A fierce group of raccoons has killed 10 cats, attacked a small dog and bitten at least one pet owner who had to get rabies shots, residents of Olympia say.
Some have taken to carrying pepper spray to ward off the masked marauders and the woman who was bitten now carries an iron pipe when she goes outside at night.
"It's a new breed,'' said Tamara Keeton, who with Kari Hall started a raccoon watch after an emotional neighborhood meeting drew 40 people. "They're urban raccoons, and they're not afraid.''
Lisann Rolle said she began carrying an iron pipe when she goes outside at night after being bitten by raccoons when she tried to pull three of them off her cat Lucy. She obtained rabies shots afterward as a precaution.
"I was watching her like a hawk, but she snuck out,'' Rolle said. "Then I heard this hideous sound -- a coyote-type high pitch ... It was vicious. They were focused on ripping her apart.''
In one case five raccoons tried to carry off a small dog, which managed to survive.