Mayor caught killing raccoon with shovel defends himself

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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  • Germaine

    You shouldn’t feed Raccoons. It emboldens them toward humans. They carry disease. I don’t know about Alabama, but in Michigan, they are listed as varmints and can be killed at any time.

    • C

      Germaine, kind of like homeless humans as well, right? After all, just like you and me they can carry diseases, too.

      • 3v3rLas+

        Would that not be the living conditions causing disease? If living on the streets is issue, then it’s more of a community failure. When there’s paying positions for this NOT to happen, as in community safety, it’s failure. So a failed system could be more the cause when living in advanced society? A raccoon will not decipher between an adult giving food from a small child with food in hand. Coon will come to take because humans made it comfortable VS running away from a human, scared.

      • 3v3rlas+

        Could say the same for Bubonic Plague and Typhoid; LA has “brought it back” into the states… Sigh. When’s the last time people domesticated raccoons? You don’t, once grown they will scratch and tear up a human, even the owner.

        • steve

          First, what’s LA? As far as truly domesticated raccoons? No, but I’ve known of more than a few cases where they get along fine with people at arm’s length. And your last sentence that uses the words ‘tearing up’ sounds more like a reference to a lot of people that I’ve known rather than raccoons, both at arm’s length and beyond.

  • Matt McCartney

    I’d be a bit concerned seeing a raccoon in bright sunshine………Nocturnal animals are called “nocturnal” for a reason.

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