Video Shows Atmore Mayor Killing Racoon With Shovel; State Wildlife Officials React

June 4, 2019

Videos showing Atmore Mayor Jim Staff killing a raccoon with a shovel have gone viral  on social media with people calling for his arrest, but state wildlife officials say he did nothing wrong.

The video is below. It may be disturbing to some viewers.

In a statement provided to NorthEscambia.com Tuesday, Staff said the raccoon ran at him, and he took defensive action as he and his wife Myrtle were trying to launch their boat at the Canal Park Boat Launch Sunday in Gulf Shores.

“I was going to back the boat into the water and my wife was out of the truck to hold the rope for the boat. Although I didn’t see it, I heard my wife yell and jump back in the truck and say ‘look out for the raccoon.’ A raccoon had run at my wife while she was out of the truck,” Staff said. “I then saw the animal and threw a stick at it to make it go away. Instead of going away, it ran next to a garbage can several feet away and stared at me. I was concerned because this was not a natural behavior by a wild raccoon. took a shovel out of the truck because I didn’t know what the raccoon was going to do. At that point, he then ran at me. That is when I hit the raccoon with the shovel. I was convinced that the animal was dying and would not recover.”

People in the area claimed  that the raccoon was a community pet of sorts and is often fed by people at the boat ramp.

“What he did is not illegal,” Chris Lewis, assistant chief of enforcement for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, told NorthEscambia.com. “It is OK to defend yourself against a wild racoon.”

Lewis noted that it would actually be illegal for people to purposely feed the raccoon  as a pet in Alabama.

“Raccoons are the biggest carrier of rabies in the state,” Kim Nix, spokesperson for the department said. “They can never be treated like pets.”

“I am an animal lover and I would never intentionally injure an animal,” Staff said. “However, when a wild raccoon, which is normally a nocturnal animal, exhibits this unnatural behavior and runs at my wife and then at me, I have every right to be fearful of what may happen. I am well aware of recent events in Baldwin County where a rabid fox and a rabid raccoon charged at and bit two women in Fairhope, Alabama….The Alabama Department of Public Health warns against the dangers of being bitten by a raccoon.”

Staff said the online videos do not tell the entire story because they only begin after he defended himself.

“The bottom line is that I had every right to fear and act accordingly when a wild animal ran first at my wife and then at me. The video and the comments posted on Facebook are both misleading and irresponsible because they don’t give the entire picture of what happened,” Staff said.

Pictured: Images from a video showing Atmore Mayor Jim Staff killing a raccoon with a shovel. Images for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Comments

62 Responses to “Video Shows Atmore Mayor Killing Racoon With Shovel; State Wildlife Officials React”

  1. Jean on June 6th, 2019 8:53 pm

    What that killer did was wrong, it was a horrible way to die. But God will deal with him.

  2. Michael Phillips on June 6th, 2019 3:49 pm

    My brother was in the same situation, a raccoon came at him and bite him when he tried to kick it away, he jumped on top of his car and luckily someone driving by saw what was happening and came and ran over the raccoon, which messed his body up making it hard to test it for rabies, he had to get a series of shots just to make sure he didn’t get rabies, they told him he was better off getting then second guessing, if it had been a rattle snake everybody would say he was a hero.

  3. Staff's Friend on June 6th, 2019 2:50 pm

    “This is not newsworthy! ”

    I call bull. When the mayor uses city resources to have the town attorney write a multi-page statement on something that he was involved in on a personal level, it’s newsworthy.

    It’s made national news on Tv, radio, newspapers and others. Even a few international news sites.

    Yawn…you must be an atmore local used to things being swept under the rug.

  4. Alan Bell on June 6th, 2019 2:06 pm

    I am really surprised that William posted this to his website. This is not newsworthy! Our society has sunk to remarkably low levels if we become more upset at the killing of a raccoon than the killing of innocent unborn babies. In fact, not only do people NOT get upset at the killing of unborn babies, they get upset that people don’t have the “right” to kill unborn babies.

    The Mayor of Atmore (a really good man) killed a raccoon to protect himself and himself and his wife. Meanwhile, people want to kill unborn babies because they are an “inconvenience”.

    May God have mercy on our soul and may God have mercy on our country.

  5. Florida logger on June 5th, 2019 8:53 pm

    I do believe ring tailed bandit mayor of century has and is doing a lot worse things but nothing gets done about him but I assure ya Mayor Hawkins day of impeachment will come he has set back and smiled and made mockery of century and surrounding areas except the people he gives free utilities to they love him . Jim staff has helped me in very big way I owe my support and anything else he needs the lady’s son makes her look like a failed parent and she saw a moment to try be glorious but yet your still a embarrassment

  6. Brenda on June 5th, 2019 8:47 pm

    I would been scared to if it came toward me or my grandkids I would try to hit it to to protect us.

  7. Rob on June 5th, 2019 6:03 pm

    Its a racoon and caries rabies. I would have killed it too! Damn liberals give more value to animals than people!

  8. economist on June 5th, 2019 5:53 pm

    fine it isn’t illegal to kill a raccoon there. he should still step down or at least go contribute and help promote to a wildlife refugee site if he truly feels sorry for what’s happened…

  9. JOHN D BODIE on June 5th, 2019 3:44 pm

    I wasn’t there so I don”t know the full story, however there is a trash can nearby, the raccoon could have been looking for some food, if the animal didn’t approach him or his wife then I have a issue with him killing it. Some women and some men are scared of such as raccoons, possums ect. maybe his wife was hollering or something. Lol. Just because it is there does not mean its going to get after you.

  10. Well on June 5th, 2019 3:30 pm

    The arrogance of people such as the ones TAKING this video cause a lot of unnecessary problems in today’s world.
    Confrontation could have occurred easily and he may have felt threatened by you also..

  11. mnon on June 5th, 2019 1:11 pm

    The mayor did right to defend himself and his wife… I’m with his nephew too, this is not Disney these animals are not going to bring you your bath robe and give you a back rub. People are so quick to defend these “poor animals” guess what PETA lovers, they exterminate just as many dogs and cats per year as your local humane society, look it up and do your research. I say next time a raccoon like this is found, cage it and toss it in the car with one of these naysayers and let them drive it to the wildlife rescue… minus the cage.

  12. Citizen A on June 5th, 2019 12:36 pm

    If only people were that upset at killing an unborn Baby.

    Wildlife should not be fed by humans. This is the root of the problem. He did what anyone with common sense would do. Unfortunately we have a severe lack of common sense in this country these days.

  13. Fedupwothsociety on June 5th, 2019 12:12 pm

    She’s a lady video this incident, you should have got it from the start you’re only telling half a story. What you should be concerned about is your child’s mouth. What does that say about you.
    I feel the mayor on this one. He reacted and fortunately the raccoon had to die. Rabies is a highly infectious disease and it can kill.

  14. Rasheed Jackson on June 5th, 2019 12:02 pm

    The people that fed the Raccoon are the ones to blame, not to mention the ones who broke the law. Feeding wild animals in the park is illegal, and people who do this are putting others at risk. The animal may seem tame but it is still wild and has the instinct of a wild animal, especially if it feels threatened, which could be the case if it approached by a small child and the child were to try and pick it up. And raccoons are the number one carriers of rabies. I say, “good job Jim!”

  15. CK on June 5th, 2019 11:57 am

    Folks, wildlife around tourist areas often are not like wildlife you find out in rural areas. These animals are are used to seeing a lot of people come and go, therefore they are not as afraid of humans as they normally would be. The raccoon likely thought Mr. Staff would throw it some food just as many other people have, it had been taught to do that.

    The bottom line is, Mr Staff should have called the local animal control to handle it, he was not in Atmore in his own backyard.

  16. Theresa on June 5th, 2019 11:13 am

    Just because an animal is friendly for a long period of time doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous and it only takes one time to change a persons life when it does. They are still wild animals and very unpredictable. Was this handled the right way? I don’t believe so but you can’t read this mans mind of his thoughts or fears!

  17. Margie Hays on June 5th, 2019 10:50 am

    There was abuse of that raccoon, surely. Any sensible person can see that! When a neighborhood takes on the task of providing wildlife with human interaction and changing how it perceives human contact, that changing the animal’s habits. Humanizing wildlife is abuse. Until the folks who are responsible for taking the wariness and wild nature out of this animal realize this and stop harming the animals by interjecting their human presence on them, wildlife abuse will continue. Wildlife are not pets. Wildlife and unvaccinated domestic animals and livestock have the potential to carry diseases that can – and have -killed humans. That raccoon didn’t deserve to die, but once he no longer feared humans his fate was sealed.

  18. Fisherman on June 5th, 2019 10:13 am

    Bet all you complaining he killed the raccoon would have done the same thing if it were trying to attack you oh wait you would just stand there and let it attack. I don’t condone killing just to kill but individuals who feed wild animals are the ones to blame. As for the video it would be nice to see a video from the start of attack to the end. All this video recording on TV today has gotten out of hand as the media will edit and show what they want.

  19. paul on June 5th, 2019 9:36 am

    The bigger problem is the people feeding wild animals. I don’t believe in killin anything I’m not gonna eat but I do agree with his reason. If you can get near a wild animal there’s something wrong with it.

  20. It’s a raccoon... on June 5th, 2019 9:01 am

    It’s a raccoon… eating garbage in the middle of the day. If it was my house I’d have shot it. He did nothing wrong y’all tree huggers need to calm down

  21. Mandy on June 5th, 2019 8:23 am

    Why does… “meep meep, ACME come to mind?

  22. J on June 5th, 2019 6:42 am

    You go mayor!! Don’t worry about them comments there are some dumb people in this world

  23. James Walls on June 4th, 2019 11:22 pm

    Poor trash panda, just looking for food hand outs, murdered by a ______.
    No respect for live or nature.If he killed that raccoon in front of my kids I would have gone off on him. I always see simi- tame raccoons around camp sites. Sad that it trusted humans.

  24. Mijanou Sutcliffe on June 4th, 2019 10:59 pm

    Sadly there is such ignorance about Racoons and Wildlife. Everything is interconnected and Racoons are vital to the Ecosystem. It’s people population and development that have driven these animals out of their habitat. He should have left the animal alone that was clearly frightened of him by taking an agressive stand. Who knows how often this animal was hit or teased
    People should not feed them and perhaps the Municipality should invest in some
    Animal proof garbage cans.
    The macho attitude of some of the comments speaks for themselves is a sad reflection of the kind of of people that think it is their God given right to kill anything that slightly annoys them. Analysing his description of what happened , I surmise, he is not a good storyteller! .

  25. Cynthia Trahan on June 4th, 2019 10:29 pm

    I’m with the mayor & I’m an avid animal lover. People who feed & encourage wild animals to approach them are responsible for what eventually happens to them and/or the people they attack. Leave wildlife alone or call a wildlife officer to intervene if you see anyone feeding a wild animal-for the animals’ sake if you can’t think about humans.

  26. Tom on June 4th, 2019 10:21 pm

    I also do not blame the Mayor but…..Given his position in our local government I would have probably handled it differently like calling local animal control or setting traps if indeed the animal was a danger to him and his family. When you are in a government position or something similar it should be expected that all eyes will be on you and you could be judged by your peers and local citizens. So in closing whacking it with a shovel may not have been the best approach.

  27. Kool Aid on June 4th, 2019 10:07 pm

    I smell a rat; wait-no it’s a raccoon…there’s a conspiracy here and it should be called Coongate! We need a Congressional investigation I bet the Russians were involved.

  28. Joshua on June 4th, 2019 9:33 pm

    Multiple rabies alerts have been issued in the past week for northwest Florida (escambia and Santa Rosa) due to verified cases of rabies in wild animals. So it’s not a stretch to think that the neighboring counties in Alabama may be affected. I live in Santa Rosa and we feed some outside cats. Told my wife if they start acting odd to carry a gun with her. Not going to risk her getting bit.

  29. Mikesford on June 4th, 2019 9:18 pm

    Im saddened im shocked he killed a raccoon, but wait dont we have abortions in this country also after birth now.i think we got more to worry about besides a raccoon.

  30. Steph on June 4th, 2019 8:39 pm

    The only ones wrong are the ones who feed wild animals. How would you know if it had rabies or not. And I am with “me” on thinking the ones shooting the video would not stand up for the I born. He did the right thing.

  31. Delane Garrett on June 4th, 2019 8:33 pm

    We ran over a snake with the lawnmower today,Sunday I shot a huge rat in our back yard. These are things we do in the country to keep these things from taking over!!!!

  32. Tkp on June 4th, 2019 8:28 pm

    Someone needs to wash that little kid’s mouth out with soap. Quit worrying about that raccoon and work on some parenting skills.

  33. anne 1of2 on June 4th, 2019 7:45 pm

    I only hope that God gives animals their own heaven. Raccoons can be very mean, even when they have been hand raised.

    r

  34. Florida logger on June 4th, 2019 7:36 pm

    And to the camara lady who must be a liberal idiot living high on the hog sounds like to me she a trouble maker if u precious little chiwawaa dog or whatever kind u got if i minding my own business and it jumps at me barking and growling In a aggressive manner it would meet mr shovel also but I will smile

  35. Me on June 4th, 2019 7:33 pm

    But all of those people in an uproar about the death of the raccoon are probably the very ones supporting abortions and the murder of unborn living babies. America is screwed up. That’s all. I support the mayor. I’m going to protect myself and loved ones from any wild animal posing a threat.

  36. Bob on June 4th, 2019 7:26 pm

    Sorry Jim,
    I’m sending this to AOC so she can ban shovels along with AR 15s

  37. My 2 cents on June 4th, 2019 7:24 pm

    If a raccoon ran at me in the daytime I would assume it was probably rabid & I would have killed it myself to protect myself & my family! Some people need to get a grip!!

  38. Mike Ward on June 4th, 2019 6:59 pm

    I was at one time married into this all American family. They are good and decent people and in my opinion are one of the best family’s I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. I believe Mr Staff is a good and kind man and only acted, not out of malice, but for the well being of his family and their safety. I wish him the best and I hope this can be put to rest without farther ill intent.

  39. BPD on June 4th, 2019 6:53 pm

    Pressure cook him, shred the meat, add bread crumbs, onion, salt, pepper, egg, and fat; mix thoroughly. Form into patties; dip into egg; then dip in bread crumbs. Fry in hot fat until brown. Yum Yum

  40. chris on June 4th, 2019 6:50 pm

    “surrounded by ignorant people who can’t mind there ” There = over there is the raccoon.* Their = their own raccoon. Make sure before you call others ignorant that you understand how to spell certain words.

  41. josh on June 4th, 2019 6:20 pm

    arrest the camera man for being dumb

  42. my thoughts on June 4th, 2019 6:07 pm

    S, it sounds like to me that it’s the people who had been feeding this wild creature who are at fault for its death. They had taught it not to fear people and to look to them as a food source. With the current rabies alert going on, I can see why this man and his wife were afraid. I love animals and I’m sorry the raccoon is dead. However, maybe there is something to be learned from all of this:, which is leave wild animals alone.

  43. Tee bug on June 4th, 2019 6:02 pm

    Don’t worry about this Mr Mayor as you I am sure aware of are surrounded by ignorant people who can’t mind there own business you did what you had to do to protect your family and yes I would have done the same so hold your head up and be glad it didn’t attack either of you and by the way I am a animal lover myself and I also got a little common sense unlike some people

  44. Laine on June 4th, 2019 5:35 pm

    I don’t blame the Mayor at all. I would have done the same thing. Y’all need to find something else to complain about.

  45. chris on June 4th, 2019 5:02 pm

    So people get shot and one is killed at a graduation party, but we are protected from raccoons? Atmore sure has it’s priorities straight.

  46. Brian on June 4th, 2019 4:37 pm

    How would he be aware idiots made a pet out of a possible rabies infected raccoon. Raccoon was doing what he was trained to and the man reacted like someone who knew what this animal could do to his wife. Smh

  47. josh on June 4th, 2019 4:27 pm

    tree huggers who’d a thunk it

  48. MMcClint on June 4th, 2019 4:23 pm

    The hungry raccoon is a frequent visitor in that area. No longer because the Mayor and his wife felt threatened.

    The raccoon was bludgeoned to death by an assailant with a shovel.

    I remember several years ago on the campus of Univ. of West Florida – a student beat a young raccoon with a limb. Oh yes, later arrested for that.

  49. SoWhat on June 4th, 2019 4:15 pm

    social media judge and mob rule wastes time. get to work..people are so stupid.
    headline
    Lady lets raccoon bite her because –the USA has lost their collective minds

  50. Robert on June 4th, 2019 4:14 pm

    Yep, 100% correct Big Daddy. Oh God I hope they do not try to ban shovels now. Bleeding heart idiots.

  51. Nikki on June 4th, 2019 4:01 pm

    Although raccoons can be very loving animals the fact is that they are very dangerous my husband and myself had one run us up on top of a truck snarling at us . They mean business when they want to attack something. I don’t believe the man did anything wrong . Just because he’s a mayor of Atmore everyone is freaking out . I would have done the same thing whether it was a raccoon or anything else.

  52. northend resident on June 4th, 2019 3:40 pm

    I am in support of the Mayor’s actions, my husband and I would have reacted the same way. All wildlife is precious yes, until it crosses the line of causing you or someone else harm or death, then decisions have to be made. That’s called life!

  53. just a citizen on June 4th, 2019 3:24 pm

    Attacking his wife really, it’s a racoon mancho man!

  54. Bill on June 4th, 2019 3:13 pm

    Maybe Mr. Staff can bring civil and punitive charges against the lady who decided to be a camara-wielding SJW. These people are out trying to make trouble where there is none, and perhaps it’s time they get taken to task for their actions. A few successful lawsuits against this kind of thing and people will think twice about hitting the “upload” button.

  55. just sayin on June 4th, 2019 2:57 pm

    You can blame the people who have been feeding this wild critter for his untimely demise.

  56. George on June 4th, 2019 2:50 pm

    Mayor Staff was within his rights to defend himself and his wife.

    The people that fed this wild raccoon are the ones responsible for its death.

  57. Florida logger on June 4th, 2019 2:40 pm

    If any one has problems with my family the mayor Jim staff im his nephew im easy found all u anti socialist democratic sissy’s what if the coon was sick and rabies and it bite your little precious baby then u goin hollor why didn’t someone kill it well get a life people some animal gota go so us as mankind can get stronger to defeat pathetic crying people in this world

  58. Larry Williams on June 4th, 2019 2:33 pm

    Jim Staff is a kind loving person and has full right to defend himself and his family. He is out running around town every Sunday picking up trash from the roadways and has done more for Atmore than anyone. Posting this on social media was for no other reason than to stir up hate and get “Likes”. I stand behind our Mayor and his reation 110%.

  59. Lady on June 4th, 2019 2:33 pm

    I’m ashamed of the mayor.
    Garbage cans are raccoon habitat.
    Anyone in Alabama knows the raccoon is about as dangerous as a squirrel.

  60. Big Daddy on June 4th, 2019 2:12 pm

    Really?
    Man defends himself and family from a wild animal, and now
    every body wants to condemn him for it.
    I guess that I would be in the same boat as Mayor Staff.
    Except, I wouldn’t have used a shovel.
    One would wonder was it because he protected his wife, or was
    it because of who it was?
    Jus saying. Maybe we need fewer snowflakes and more men willing to do what is needed to take care of ones family.

  61. arthur on June 4th, 2019 2:08 pm

    Yea that’s what happened…

  62. Tom on June 4th, 2019 2:08 pm

    I’m with the mayor on this! I’d reacted the same way.





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