Lifestyle & Human Interest

Rescuers Save Raccoon Dangling by Neck in a Storm Drain


It took a dedicated team of firefighters, an animal control officer and a veterinarian to free a raccoon that was trapped in a sewer grate last month in Newton, Massachusetts.

A bicyclist first spotted the raccoon with its head peering helplessly out of one of the grate’s square-shaped holes and called the Newton Fire Department, according to The Washington Post.

Capt. Eric Fricke sent a team that the fire department believed would be the best equipped to handle the tricky situation.

Armed with dish soap and a soft-spraying water hose, the team thought the rescue operation would be fairly straightforward.

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But the tried-and-true dish soap lubrication method was not working. Soapy and slippery, the terrified animal continued to struggle, and firefighters knew they needed backup.

The ordeal ended up taking about two hours with the help of Animal Control Officer Deanna Gualtieri from Waltham and veterinarian Adam Boardman from Massachusetts Animal Medical Center.

“It was quite the operation,” the fire department wrote on Twitter.

Would you have tried to save this raccoon?

The team decided to open up the sewer grate in the hopes that the animal would be able to free itself once its paws were firmly planted back on the ground.

Still, the raccoon’s neck remained wedged in the square-shaped hole.

With all other options exhausted, the rescue team decided that sedation would be the safest way to free the raccoon.

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“The raccoon ended up needing to be sedated so that it could relax enough,” Fricke told The Post. “It was fighting the whole process.”

Once the scared creature was calm and relaxed, rescuers maneuvered its at just the right angle to push its head back through the hole.

Waltham Animal Control assumed responsibility for the raccoon until its medication wore off, NBC News reported.

“Everybody’s just happy that there was a positive outcome and they were able to get him out,” Fricke said. “Hopefully, he will recover and be off and live his life.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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