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Raccoons on the prowl

Photo: flickr / Kim Yanoshik

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (RPD) is warning visitors to the Palace of Fine Arts to be wary of aggressive raccoons in the area. In the last few months, at least four dogs and two people have been attacked by raccoons at the park. San Francisco Animal Care and Control (ACC) believes the raccoons are trying to protect their young from perceived intruders.

One neighbor walking at the Palace was chased and bitten by an adult raccoon, requiring a rabies vaccination protocol. Another visitor’s dog was scratched by a mother raccoon when her baby fell out of a tree directly in front of the dog.

ACC did receive reports of a neighbor feeding the raccoons, which has likely contributed to the problem. After being contacted by ACC officers, the person did agree to end the practice.

To avoid further confrontations, RPD posted warning signs around the Palace of Fine Arts suggesting people keep dogs on leash and children close by. New animal-proof trash receptacles are also being considered.

Raccoons are regular visitors to the lagoon island, but have also been seen in the main park. The most frequent sightings are after dark, though attacks have oc-curred during daylight hours.

We share our parks with native wildlife, so take care to avoid any unnecessary interactions including feeding raccoons or other wild animals.

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