NEWS
12/04/2015 15:18 EST | Updated 12/04/2016 00:12 EST

Hamilton reviews protocols after rabid raccoon fights dogs in animal control van

A fight between two Ontario dogs and an "aggressive" rabid raccoon in the back of an animal control van has prompted the City of Hamilton to review its protocols.

Part of the altercation was captured on video and uploaded to Facebook by Paula Fancey, the owner of two bull mastiffs that were picked up by Animal Services after breaking free from her property on Wednesday.

Fancey and her daughter, Jordan, got into a heated argument with the animal control officer, each claiming the other started it.

They also don't agree on how the animal fight began, with Fancey saying the raccoon got loose first, prompting one of her dogs, Mr. Satan, to break out of his cage.

City spokeswoman Ann Lamanes says one of the dogs broke out of its cage and attacked the "aggressive raccoon," which fought back, cutting the dog's mouth and tongue.

Fancey broke down Friday afternoon after learning the raccoon, who was later euthanized, tested positive for rabies.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," she said through tears, adding that the dogs were not up-to-date on their vaccinations.

Lamanes said there's been a heightened risk of aggressive raccoons in Hamilton.

"It was very vicious and it was a public safety risk and we weren't going to let it back into the wild, so it was euthanized."

Fancey said she was upset that the situation even happened in the first place.

"It's our fault that the dogs got loose and broke through the gate, but why were they in the animal control van with a raccoon?" she said.

"And why do they use those cages, they're flimsy and not secure."

Lamanes said the city is reviewing several issues that were highlighted by the incident, notably the strength and condition of the cages used in their vans and whether domestic animals should be transported at the same time as sick or injured wildlife.

As for the incident involving Fancey's dogs, Lamanes said the city supports the animal services worker.

"We do fully believe that in this situation our animal control officer acted professionally, she did exactly what she was supposed to do and we're very sorry that the incident occurred," she said.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press