DANVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - Brad Turner says he was among several hundred people who witnessed what he calls a horrifying scene Friday night, one that he says a lot of children took in as well.
"Absolutely crying, bawling, trying to hide their eyes from the event taking place," said Turner who says he was at the fair Friday night with his nephew.
Turner says the event started with at least three dogs trying to irritate a raccoon in a cage. Moments later, the raccoon was released. It ran toward the edge of the horse ring where it was attacked.
"For about two or three minutes they just mangled it," he says.
He says the raccoon then ran into a crowded area of people eating dinner near grandstands, watching another event.
"Raccoons, when they are in trouble, will try to climb a tree. There wasn't a tree for 200 meters. The people in the crowd became the tree," Turner said.
Turner said they saw some try to put the animal out its misery but seconds later it was shoved back into a cage and the people behind the "Coon Dog Treeing Contest" left.
A spokesperson for Ky. Fish And Wildlife say it is too early comment on if laws were broken or if anyone will be charged. They say they are working hand in hand with Danville Police.
People say it appeared the animal was "severely injured" when it left, but there's no word on if it survived.
- - - UPDATE - - -
A petition has surfaced, calling for taking away the hunting license of everyone involved in an incident this weekend at the Boyle County fair.
A Danville radio station says some with the petition are citing Kentucky statute 525.125 that says a person is guilty of cruelty to animals in the first degree, whenever a four-legged animal is used to fight for pleasure or profit.
Others say "coon treeing" is exempt, because it is legally classified as a sport.
According to the Herald-Leader, the lead investigator from Fish and Wildlife is at annual training this week, and will decide what statue the incident falls under, when he returns from training on Monday and meets with investigators.