Raccoon attacks Ballard couple in backyard

Raccoon attacks Ballard couple in backyard »Play Video
Mark and Joanna Silverstein describe the raccoon attack as their little dog, Bee, stays nearby.
SEATTLE - A Ballard couple is still in shock after they were viciously attacked by a raccoon in their own backyard. Now, they're both undergoing painful rabies treatments as a precaution.

Mark Silverstein says he still vividly remembers the sounds of his wife's screams and his dog's agonized yelps on the night of the attack.

"I heard her screaming and the dog screaming. It was like blood-curdling, terror, like you've never heard before," he says.

The bizarre episode began with a normal backyard potty break for their little dog, Bee. With no warning, a furry bandit went on a rampage, biting and clawing the dog.

"This raccoon was completely unprovoked," says Joanna Silverstein. "It came over the fence and went for her. I don't know why."

Joanna, who had a baby just two weeks ago, suddenly found herself in the darkness - wrestling with the wild animal to save her terrier.

"I got him by the back of the neck," she says. "I pulled him off the dog and tried to get the front of his neck to strangle him."

"You don't even think about it," she says. "You do what you have to do to save your dog."

Her husband Mark fought off the raccoon by throwing a big flashlight at it.

"I hit it, and hit it as hard as I could," he says.

Finally the vicious raccoon ran under the deck and then disappeared.

Now Bee has bite marks to her snout, and Joanna has an open wound on her calf.

"I didn't realize I had been bitten until I actually saw it. But you clearly see teeth," she says.

Mark's right arm was clawed or bitten - he's not sure which.

"I don't know if it bit here. These look like puncture wounds. But it was the front claws or the back claws - that's where I reached in and tried to pull that thing off."

They're now both undergoing a series of painful rabies vaccinations - with 10 to 20 shots every session.

"It was excruciatingly painful," says Mark.

There's a concern this raccoon had become so aggressive because a few homeowners around here have been feeding it.

In fact, a flyer went up soon after the initial attack imploring homeowners not to feed the raccoon.

And with the vicious animal still on the loose, the Silverstein's remain skittish.

"We're scared to let the dog out," says Joanna. "There's no way I'm taking the baby out after dark. It's like our own backyard is off limits to us after sunset."

The Silversteins say they plan on having traps set in the next few days to catch the raccoon and others, which could live in a big tree in their backyard.