A Fairfield man used a Samurai sword Wednesday afternoon to defend his dog from an attack by what appears to have been a large raccoon.
Marquel Dawson, 19, was walking with Stunna, a 2-year-old pit bull-German shepherd mix, near his home on Fairview Place when the dog, which was unleashed, noticed something, darted into the bushes and started tussling with another animal, Dawson said.
Dawson said he ran back to his home and grabbed a 3-foot, two-handed samurai sword that he had recently received as a gift. He ran back and hit what he described as "a large, brown animal" with the dull edge of the sword.
The animal ran away, and Dawson tended to Stunna, who suffered cuts to his face and legs, he said. Stunna was taken to a local veterinarian to be treated.
Dawson originally told authorities that the animal that fought with Stunna was a mountain lion, but officials with the California Department of Fish and Game notified him today that the offending animal appears to have been a large raccoon.
Fish and Game warden Patrick Foy said that determination was based on "the absence of mountain lion tracks, the presence of very large raccoon tracks, and after we took a look at the wounds the dog sustained."
After being notified of the findings, Dawson said he was "relieved that the dog's OK and that it wasn't actually a mountain lion, because that would've been way worse than just a raccoon."
Foy said, however, that raccoons can often be "very, very vicious" and that the dog "easily could've been killed or suffered more injuries."
Fish and Game officials encourage pet owners to keep their animals on leashes and close by when walking outside, and to try to keep trash cans inside, since raccoons and other wild animals are drawn to discarded food.
Foy said a large raccoon in the wild usually weighs about 15 pounds, but that raccoons living near homes can be as heavy as 25 pounds because they have "a human source of food."