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Pack of raccoons injure elderly woman in Florida [Corrected]

October 5, 2009 |  3:12 pm


A 74-year-old Lakeland woman was hospitalized after being mauled by a pack of raccoons she tried to shoo from her yard.

Gretchen Whitted fell when five raccoons surrounded and attacked, suffering extensive cuts from her neck to her legs.

"We're not talking about a lot of little bites here," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. "She was filleted."

A neighbor called for help after hearing the woman's cries and seeing her covered in blood.

Whitted received dozens of staples and sutures and was treated for rabies, though officials doubt the animals were infected.

Fire crews flooded nearby drains where some of the animals escaped, but none turned up. Animal Control officers hope to catch them in traps baited with wet cat food and sardines.

[Correction: An earlier headline on this post stated that the woman mauled by a pack of raccoons died as a result.  While she was severely injured, she survived the attack -- a very important distinction indeed, and news we're glad to hear.  "She's got scarring down here face and her chest is covered with scratches and her back is covered with scratches and she's in pretty rough shape," her daughter, Lisa Bilik, told Florida's NBC-2 News. We wish her a speedy recovery!]

-- Associated Press

Photo: A group of raccoons (not the same animals that attacked the woman in Florida).  Credit: skep41 / Your Scene

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