COEYMANS, N.Y. -- Police are responding after a video went viral of Coeymans Police chasing down and running over a raccoon believed to be rabid.
"I can't say I agree with their actions," said Daniel Contento, interim chief of the Coeymans Police Department. "I did just hear from the Department of Health. The animal did test positive for rabies."
Monday morning, 911 calls alerted the police to the raccoon, showing signs of the deadly virus. Normal protocol calls for the animal to be shot, but that was determined to be unsafe in a crowded parking lot.
"The animal was dispatched by vehicle after contemplation of all of the above," said Contento.
But many social media users and animal rights activists are calling the police's actions into question.
"[I] immediately had a hard time watching the video and [was] instantly sickened and appalled by what I saw happen," said Todd Cramer, president and CEO of Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.
Cramer says there are other options for law enforcement to use.
"There is humane trapping that can be done. There is chemical capture that has been utilized around the country. Animal Control officers in our area deal with raccoons all the time," said Cramer.
The town of Coeymans does not have a animal control officer, leaving the officers at the scene to make the decision themselves how to act.
"We can understand this was not easy to watch," Contento said. "But the town of Coeymans police officers acted without malice or contempt, and acted with the public's well being in mind."
"To be humane, you have to minimize destress, and that did not happen for this raccoon," said Cramer.
Spectrum News can confirm the district attorney is aware of the incident and is investigating to see if any laws were broken.