Isla Vista’s illustrious albino raccoon is dead, and as hundreds of local residents mourn his untimely passing, the responsible canine is still at large.
With four raccoon kills already on his list, Cody the dog fought the albino raccoon last Thursday night, eventually choking and suffocating it. The white masked bandit, who has no official name and whose sex is still undetermined, finally came to rest on the cold pavement of Del Playa Drive.
Saying that the albino raccoon was a bit of a local celebrity is an understatement. Nearly 400 UCSB students belong to a Facebook group titled “I came face to face with the legendary albino raccoon of I.V.” and passersby can almost always hear elated survivors boast of brave raccoon encounters over a beer at Sam’s To Go, in residence hall lounges or in lecture.
After the news of his death, students across Isla Vista began, once again, to share stories about sightings of the raccoon running on the beach, lying under beer pong tables and taking part in various other I.V. activities.
The raccoon was known to reside in a tree on the corner of Sue-o Road and Camino Pescadero, leaving his home on Friday and Saturday nights to socialize with — and occasionally terrorize – I.V. residents. Some students spent entire weekends searching for the raccoon while others ran scared at the slightest encounter of the bleached beast.
While no one was available to speak for the raccoon, fourth-year global studies major Nahmyo Thomas spoke for the death-bearing dog who serves as a guard for a house on DP. Thomas said no one witnessed dog-raccoon fight, because it occurred in the small hours of the morning.
“When we woke up, Cody’s mouth was covered in blood,” Thomas said. “We knew he had killed something.”
Shortly after, a search party took to the streets to find the slain animal. Thomas said they at first thought the large white animal was an opossum, but upon further inspection, they were shocked to find that the legendary albino raccoon had fallen to the mighty jaws of Cody.
The carcass caused a spectacle on the street, and news of the death spread quickly around the community, while residents insisted on seeing the face of the mutt who ended the life of the mystical raccoon.
Although Cody has killed four raccoons, he has always been respectful toward human beings, fourth-year psychology and English major Andrew Volkert said.
“He’s actually a really friendly dog,” Volkert, who is a friend of Cody’s owner, said. “He’s perfectly harmless so long as you’re not any form of Isla Vista wildlife.”
The raccoon was thrown away in a dumpster, but Thomas said someone picked it out to take to a taxidermist.
“I don’t know how they’re going to stuff him,” she said. “His neck is ripped. It’s fucked up.”
Third-year communication and global studies major Amy Schaeffer is one of 400 members of the “I came face to face with the legendary albino raccoon of I.V.” Facebook group. Schaeffer said she was deeply saddened to hear the news of the tragic death, citing her special encounter with the animal, which she met a few months ago in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park.
“I was out at 3 a.m. doing who knows what,” Schaeffer said. “We were walking by and heard rustling in the bushes. Then he ran out and chased us – we were legitimately running. It was the scariest shit I have ever seen.”
Despite her fear of the raccoon, Schaeffer said she was upset to learn of the raccoon’s untimely demise.
“I’m really sad. That thing is an icon of Isla Vista,” she said.
However, not all I.V. residents share in Schaeffer’s mourning. Third-year physiology major Johnny Feusier said he hated the albino raccoon with all of his heart.
“It’s a pretty big deal that the raccoon died. I’m excited,” he said.
Feusier alleged that the raccoon killed his turtle earlier in the year. The turtle lived in a tub in Feusier’s yard on Sabado Tarde Road, and he said the woman living across the street watched the raccoon viciously maul the tiny reptile.
He said he and his housemates were planning on trapping and sniping the albino raccoon themselves, but now that the work has been done for him, Feusier said he would like to shake the paw of the dog which got rid of the animal once and for all.
“He’s a motherfucker. I love animals, but I hate the albino raccoon more than I hate any other animal,” he said.
Regardless of individual opinions about the albino raccoon, emotions ran high throughout I.V. this weekend. Volkert created a Facebook group called “RIP Great White: An albino I.V. legend” — the Website’s third group devoted to the raccoon – for community members to come together and mourn the loss of the icon.
On the group’s wall, Volkert summed up the range of emotions that people are feeling, and encouraged everyone to support each other in this difficult time.
“Some will mourn, others will cheer, but all can align with respect for the life of the I.V. legend that spurred so many classic stories,” he wrote.