Updated on 2.10.23 at 10:20 am

Between the concrete, automobile traffic and dogs, Downtown Jersey City would seem an inhospitable environment for wildlife. Yet in a testament to nature’s resilience, sightings of skunks and possums are relatively common.

Yesterday, however, reports that an apparently rabid raccoon was on the loose in the area of Van Vorst Park cast the local fauna in a new and dark light.

In a post on nextdoor.com, Kristin Slayback, reported that a raccoon “attacked multiple people” and was “roaming the neighborhood. Animal control is aware and has been trying to catch it all day. Police are also aware.”

Neighbor Meredith Santana said that Animal Control had suggested “walking around with a stick for protection.”

“Ilya” reported on SeeClickFix that the raccoon “right by Van Vorst Park just attacked and bit my dog.” Minerva Fuentes chimed in this morning that “people have been complaining about this, being attacked themselves and Animal Control haven’t been able to catch.”

Liberty Humane Society thanked people for reporting the problem and added “Hudson County is home to thousands of different types of beneficial creatures, who we see as they are out and about finding food, building nests, having babies, and teaching their young to survive. Wild animals are protected under NJ State Law and we strive to live safely and cooperatively with them.”

LHS adds “We do need residents to call us immediately if they experience an incident of this nature. It is not normal for wildlife to attack or aggressively approach/chase people. This can be a sign of illness. If this happens to you, please call the Animal Response Team at 201-547-4888 immediately.”

The case was closed with no indication if the raccoon was caught and the condition of Minerva Fuentes’s dog is unknown.

Citing the Center for Disease Control, The Humane Society says that “only one human has ever died from the raccoon strain of rabies. A rabid raccoon is usually dead within 1-3 days of becoming infectious, and even if you’re bitten by a rabid raccoon, effective post-exposure treatment is available.”

Photo by David Selbert

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....