Lieutenant Franko Gaitan with the Stephenville Police Department said he saw something Thursday he has never seen before while patrolling City Park.

A young raccoon behaving like a puppy.

“A girl was taking a picture of (the raccoon), then when she walked off he just started following her like a dog, Gaitan said.

Gaitan said the cute critter ran over to a boy with a basketball and the boy actually leaned down and petted the animal, all while Gaitan was cautioning against it.

The raccoon then started playing with the ball.

Gaitan called Animal Control Officer Scott Whiteley because raccoons that are out and about in the daylight hours are usually ill.

Gaitan said the animal didn't appear to be afraid of people at all and frolicked around having a good time in the park.

When Officer Whiteley placed his pet carrier on the ground and opened the gate the raccoon ran right in.

“This was one of the easiest catches I've ever made, Whiteley said.

He said the animal did not appear at all diseased and suspects he had been born in the park and was accustomed to people feeding him. Whiteley said he would transport the animal to the Erath County Humane Society for Judy Hallmark to examine it and determine the animal's condition.

Erath County Game Warden Tony Navarro said it is illegal to keep raccoons as pets.

ANGELIA JOINER is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at or (254) 965-3124,ext. 238