Citrus Park woman warns about raccoon after bloody attack

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A Hillsborough County woman has a mangled right leg -- and three weeks’ worth of rabies shots ahead of her -- after being mauled by a raccoon.

Gabrielle Luig says she had to punch the raccoon to get it to stop biting her, and then it even chased her back to the house.   She's telling her story as a warning to her neighbors in Citrus Park because the raccoon is still out there.

Luig says the county told her it can't go looking for the raccoon because it would be impossible to single it out from other raccoons. But she says they should at least search her neighborhood because this animal is clearly rabid and attacked her for no reason. 

Gabrielle went over to a neighbor's house yesterday to take their dog for a walk. When she opened the rear door, she saw a raccoon inside the screened patio. It had apparently shredded some of the chair cushions before it locked eyes with her, then calmly walked right up to her.

"I prayed and I said OK, there is no way this raccoon is coming up to me. He smelled my leg, and the next thing I knew, he attached his front paws around my leg and took his mouth -- and um, starting biting into my leg,” she recalled. “I ripped him off of me with some flesh pieces. He then attacked me again…I hit him so hard and I just ran into the house, and opened the sliding door and smashed it. He was right behind me. He threw himself against the glass door trying to get in, still trying to bite me!"

Gabrielle suffered 15 puncture wounds and three slash wounds to her right leg, which now has stitches. She also had to have 10 rabies shots yesterday and has to go back for more shots for the next two weeks. 

She says she's frustrated because the Health Department told her she should have left the raccoon locked inside the screened patio and called Animal Control after the attack.  She says she didn't have time to think about that -- she just wanted to go get medical treatment.