MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. A 48-year-old Sleepy Hollow man suffered a minor injury after a Mount Pleasant police officer shot a potentially rabid raccoon along eastbound Route 117 near the main entrance to the Rockefeller Park Preserve on Sunday.
Police responded to a report of a sick or injured raccoon around 10:30 a.m. The responding police officer reportedly found the animal and killed it. Before he did so, Mount Pleasant Police Chief Louis Alagno said he made a conscious decision to shoot the animal facing northbound because he felt that was the safest way to discharge his weapon.
He could not see the bicyclist, Alagno said, noting that the man had been obscured by foliage.
Alagno said the officer fired four or five rounds at the raccoon, then kicked it to the side of the road. It was only later that Mount Pleasant police received a report from Sleepy Hollow police that a man was injured.
The man was bicycling on Old Sleepy Hollow Road, about 170 feet from the police officer and the raccoon, behind some foliage, Alagno said. He told Sleepy Hollow police that he heard a gunshot and then felt a burning sensation on his lower leg. He then noticed he had been struck by something.
The man had a cut that was less than a quarter of an inch long on his leg, Alagno said. After receiving the report, Mount Pleasant police interviewed him and convinced him to seek medical attention at Phelps Memorial Hospital.
Mount Pleasant police have determined that the Sleepy Hollow man was struck by a piece of the discharged rounds or something that was hit by one of the rounds.
Police have sent the dead raccoon to the Valhalla Animal Hospital to be tested for rabies. Several cases of rabies have been identified within Rockefeller State Park recently.
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