While setting up Christmas lights last Wednesday, a 70-year-old Massachusetts woman had to fend off an animal that attacked her and left her with broken ribs and deep bite marks.
As she hung the lights outside her Lancaster home, Donna Sanginario kept hearing a noise. When she finally turned around to investigate, she was attacked by a raccoon she now believes was rabid, WCVB reported.
Over the course of the following minutes, Sanginario was locked in a battle with the small animal, she told the network. The raccoon attached to her arm, delivering deep bites and scratches.
“I kept going around in circles and once he got off, he just jumped right back at me,” she told the news station. “We are rolling around on the ground and I am screaming: ‘Please, someone in this neighborhood help me!’”
“I really thought I was going to die,” she told WHDH.
The confrontation ended, Sanginario said, when she got the raccoon in a headlock and pinned him on her side.
“I just kept bending over and squishing and squishing and squishing him,” she said, according to WCVB. “I heard bones break. My heart was racing so bad I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”
Sanginario estimated that the raccoon was roughly 40-45 pounds. That would put it on the larger side for its species — MassWildlife places most raccoons between 12 and 36 pounds, but says some especially sizable ones can reach 50 pounds.
The encounter left Sanginario with broken ribs and required a series of shots, including tetanus, she told WCVB. While she claimed the animal was rabid, Lancaster police were not able to locate it for testing.
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