Dangerous raccoon dogs terrorizing town, officials say

A pair of raccoon dogs is terrorizing a village in central England after escaping from their pen in Nottinghamshire, according to news reports.

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Raccoon dogs, also called tanukis, look like a combination of a dog and a raccoon, but are neither dog nor raccoon, however they are part of the canid family, which includes wolves and dogs.

Shortly after escaping their pen, one of the loose dogs was photographed and reportedly attacked a goat, the BBC reported.

Police are warning residents to watch out for the animals and to stay away from them if spotted because they are "potentially dangerous if approached as they are not domesticated," Nottinghamshire police officials said, according to CNN.

Nottinghamshire resident Mandy Marsh told the Independent that one of the escaped animals attacked her pet goat and pony.

"I heard such a terrifying noise like I had never heard before. It was screaming. We ran out and this animal - we now know it's a raccoon dog - was trying to attack our goat, Marsh said.

"The raccoon dog was trying to kill it. It was absolutely crazy. It was hissing and screaming and snarling. It was going absolutely mad."

But the dogs’ owner said the animals are “less dangerous than a fox,” according to the BBC.

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Raccoon dogs are mostly found in Western and Northern Europe and East Asia. They have markings that resemble a raccoon and curved claws for climbing, according to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. They can grow as large as 26 inches in length and weigh as much as 13 pounds. They eat birds, lizards, frogs, rodents and fruits and seeds.