A word of caution, the video contained in this story is very graphic and may be hard for younger viewers to watch.
RAVENA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Albany County DA and the DEC are now investigating the incident in which Coeymans Police Officers used their vehicles to kill a rabid raccoon.
It began with concerns over this raccoon, which callers told police had been acting strangely, but that’s when things quickly took a horrific turn.
A video obtained shows two Coeymans Police vehicles; one marked the other unmarked, trying to run down a what the officers believed to be rabid raccoon; inside a shopping plaza parking lot.
The animal died after being repeated struck and run over.
A witness posted the video on Monday; it’s been viewed millions of times.
The fallout has included thousands of angry posts on the Coeymans Police Facebook Page.
Some demanding to know how the officers even knew the animal had rabies.
Others are questioning how ordinary citizens would have been treated had they done the same thing.
But the outrage isn’t stopping overall.
The phones won’t stop ringing at the police department.
“I have fielded about 200 phone calls this morning,” said Sgt. Daniel Contento.
But, the acting police chief defended his officers’ actions. He said the town does not have an animal control officer who could have handled the call.
When the officers could not get the animal to leave, they thought to shoot it, but could not due to public safety concerns
NEWS10 ABC asked the police department if the video was disturbing to them to watch.
“Yes It did. But like I said, I wasn’t there. I didn’t make the call, and this part of the incident is being looked into,” Contento said. “I can’t say I agree with their actions. But I can say what they did was out of the norm considering where it was.”
NEWS10 ABC asked a town of Coeymans councilman about the handling of the situation.
“I would want more information first I know there’s a big clamor for that to happen,” said Tom Dolan, Coeymans councilman.
The DEC tells News10ABC that the raccoon did in fact test positive for rabies.
But, animal advocates say the video proves there’s a lack of training here.
“They could have corralled the raccoon. They could have humanly trapped the raccoon. They could have used chemical capture should that be allowed and should they have the training to do so,” said Todd Cramer, CEO of the Mohawk Hudson Human Society.
The District Attorney’s Office that their Animal Cruelty Task-force is now looking into the incident, as well as the DEC.