HOPE — A Hope man took down a rabid raccoon with a bread knife after catching the raccoon attacking his dog.
Charlie Weidman said his family are still getting rabies shots after they intervened in the fight between the raccoon and their dog Zeke at their home on Luce Road.
The incident was the second in Hope during the last year in which a resident killed a raccoon. In the previous one, Rachel Borch was running along a woodland trail June 3 near her home off Hatchet Mountain Road when she was attacked by a raccoon. Borch killed it by drowning it in a puddle.
Weidman ended the raccoon attack by slitting its throat with a dull bread knife.
Weidman, a volunteer firefighter, said he was in his kitchen when one of his daughters told him that their dogvwas fighting with something outside the house.
He initially started driving down toward a nearby lake trying to find Zeke, but then realized the dog was fighting under a camp next door to his home.
Weidman’s wife and youngest daughter yelled in an attempt to break up the fight. His daughter also tried to kick the raccoon out of the dog’s mouth.
“The dog had the raccoon by the belly and the raccoon had the dog by the face,” he said.
After multiple kicks, the raccoon landed at Weidman’s feet.
“I put one foot on its neck and the other on its belly to hold it down,” Weidman said.
He grabbed for his knife but did not have it on him. His daughter got a dull, serrated bread knife from the house, and Weidman then slit the raccoon’s throat.
“There was a lot of blood involved. The dog was acting like ‘Thanks dad, you’ve got me a treat,’” he said.
He put the raccoon in a bag and cleaned up Zeke.
Weidman contacted the town’s animal control officer, who took the carcass of the raccoon to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Augusta for testing.
Maine CDC officials called the Weidmans two days later to report that the raccoon tested positive for rabies.
The three Weidmans went to the emergency department at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport on Saturday morning. Weidman said the medical staff warned them about potential side effects such as flu-like symptoms, but said that contracting rabies is nearly 100 percent fatal.
“I said, ‘Why are we talking about it?’” Weidman recounted.
The family received the first in a series of rabies shots, and will get their fourth and final shots later this week.
Zeke, a 65-pound terrier mix, was already up-to-date with his shots, Weidman said. The dog’s veterinarian came to the house on her day off and gave Zeke a booster shot, as well as some antibiotics. The dog did not require any stitches.
The family will impose a voluntary modified quarantine on Zeke out of an abundance of caution, Weidman said.