Ravena, NY - Video has gone viral which shows two Coeymans police officers using their patrol cars to run down a raccoon in a parking lot (video below.)
The incident happened Monday, and Bryanna Catucci captured video of the incident and posted it to her Facebook page.
She included the following caption: "Leaving the grocery store to find 2 cops charging at a raccoon in a car for 15 minutes until dead:/ you would think if it had rabies they would shoot him instead of torturing. Sad day"
The video shows the two police cars taking multiple passes at the raccoon and missing before another video shows them fatally striking the raccoon.
The response was quick as people expressed their outrage over the treatment of the raccoon.
The police department responded with the following statement:
"On March 12 we received numerous calls about a rabid raccoon in faith plaza. The raccoon had attempted to get into the establishment at one point. Our officer's did find the raccoon, but it was not in an area that was safe to discharge a firearm due to the proximity of pedestrians and residences. They dispatched the raccoon as quickly and humanely as possible."
The police department explanation did little to deter critics, with commenters continuing to express outrage over the incident.
None of the commenters were able to offer a reasonable alternative to the officers running down the animal.
Officers could not shoot the raccoon because it would all-but guarantee a ricochet off of the pavement in the busy shopping center parking lot.
Striking the raccoon with a baton would have been less effective and would have placed the officers in dangerous proximity to a rabid animal.
It's not immediately clear if the small town even has access to an animal control officer who responds to raccoons, but if they did, calling one out would allow the raccoon the opportunity to get away and harm somebody.
"This was a completely unacceptable, reckless and inhumane way to address the situation," Cramer said.
Cramer told the Times Union that they would be partnering with law enforcement to ensure that this sort of incident never happens again.
Sheriff Craig Apple said that his agency wasn't involved, but told the Times Union that they had utilized local trappers in the past for raccoon issues.
"Usually perception drives reality — and this is not perceived very well," Sheriff Apple told Times Union. "You have to be very cautious if it's a rabid animal because, my God, if that thing bites you, it's a very painful process with all those shots."
You can see video of the incident below which does not show the raccoon being hit: