Mayor Caught on Video Killing Raccoon Defends Himself

Alabama Mayor Jim Staff says raccoon's behavior was 'not natural'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2019 11:00 AM CDT

For the second time in a month, a raccoon's death has gone viral. This time, it was the mayor of Atmore, Ala., who was caught on video beating a raccoon to death with a shovel, then using the shovel to push its body away from the road. Jim Staff was on vacation in Gulf Shores at the time, and the woman who recorded the incident posted it on Facebook. Locals were outraged, saying the raccoon is friendly and was on the side of the road because residents often feed it, reports. Staff insists that's not the case, saying in a statement that the raccoon rushed at his wife and that the video doesn't include the animal's "bizarre" behavior.

He first tried throwing a stick at the animal, but when it only retreated to a garbage can and kept staring at him, "I took a shovel ... because I didn't know what the raccoon was going to do. At that point, he ran at me. That is when I hit the raccoon with the shovel," Staff's statement says. He adds that because he then believed the raccoon wouldn't recover, he finished the job, hitting it multiple times with the shovel until it was dead. "I am an animal lover and I would never intentionally injure an animal," the statement says. "However, when a wild raccoon, which is normally a nocturnal animal, exhibits this unnatural behavior and runs at my wife and then at me, I have every right to be fearful of what may happen." An official tells Staff's actions were legal, but that feeding the raccoon would actually be illegal. (See video of the other raccoon's death here.)

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