The Frederick County Division of Animal Control released a photo of this man in relation to an investigation into an injured raccoon.

Animal control officers identified a man who they believe attacked and severely injured a raccoon in Thurmont last month, charging him with animal cruelty.

Ethan Riley Crocker, 18, of the 8200 block of Rocky Ridge Road, was charged with one count each of aggravated animal cruelty and animal cruelty after officers with the Frederick County Division of Animal Control said he attacked a raccoon with a wrench near Locust and Orchard drives on April 9. A witness caught Crocker on camera at the scene before calling 911 and the photo was released to the public along with a press release April 10, leading to an immediate outpouring of tips from the community, said Sgt. Dave Luckenbaugh, an animal control supervisor.

“He was identified the same day the press release with the photograph was sent out and was interviewed later that day, as well,” Luckenbaugh said, explaining that Crocker admitted to injuring the animal during the interview.

Charges were held to allow animal control officers to gather additional evidence and consult with prosecutors until both criminal counts were filed against Crocker on Friday, Luckenbaugh added.

Maggie Hill, an animal control officer, was first notified of the incident on April 9 when 911 dispatchers alerted her that a woman was reporting a sick or injured raccoon near the intersection of Locust and Orchard. About 10 minutes later, while Hill was still making her way to Thurmont, a second caller reported seeing a man, later identified as Crocker, beating the raccoon with a wrench, Hill said.

“The raccoon was what we call ambulatory when I arrived, meaning it was walking, so it was alert, but it was obviously very seriously injured,” Hill said when reached for comment Tuesday.

The animal was captured in a humane trap and, after inspecting the area, Hill was able to identify an area of grass marked with fresh bloodstains about 15 to 20 feet from where she found the animal, she said. With the assistance of Thurmont police, Hill identified at least one witness and was given a photo of the suspect.

The raccoon was euthanized shortly after its capture, Luckenbaugh said, explaining that raccoons are classified as rabies vector animals in Maryland, meaning any sick or injured adult raccoons found cannot be released into the wild for fear of spreading the virus. If healthy young animals suspected to have been born within a year are found orphaned, they can be taken in and cared for in certain circumstances, Luckenbaugh said.

A sample taken from the raccoon during an examination of its injuries by a veterinarian was tested and later returned negative for rabies, the sergeant said.

While Luckenbaugh could not provide details of the interview between Hill and Crocker, Crocker was ultimately determined criminally responsible.

“I don’t want to go into specific details about what was asked and what was said but we found no information that this animal posed a threat to [Crocker] or any pets,” Luckenbaugh said. “Based on everything we found, we think this was a violent act, one that was deliberate and intentional and unnecessary.”

Follow Jeremy Arias on Twitter: @Jarias_Prime.

Jeremy Arias is the Frederick city and government reporter for The Frederick News-Post.

(16) comments


The racoon did not have rabies. Just because a racoon may possibly be a rabies carrier, why assume that all racoons have it? I don't understand why it could not have been quarantined long enough to find out that it did not have rabies and then released back into the wild.


“ I put it out of its misery by bashing it to death halfway with a blunt object “says no one ever..... this is what a BB gun is for if that were even the case which I seriously doubt. This is a future serial killer practicing


No fan of frederick county animal control. I was bitten by a pit bull in frederick and because the responding officer thought the dog was friendly they would not even file a report. They suck. That being said, a raccoon out in the daylight poses a risk due to its non typical behavior. Maybe it was I’ll advised, but if this animal was rabid, would the man be charged? May have been other circumstances not mentioned, but if it was my yard I would appreciate someone taking action to address a possible threat. Seems a little overzealous on both sides, but only one side has the ability to take someone’s freedom by action of the court.


I’m thinking he was trying to put it out of its misery. And I’m not saying it’s right. Think about it - police shoot deer that been hit by a car, not always necessary.


Knowing this kid personally (hes tried to run me off the road purely because of who I'm dating) this wasn't an act of mercy.

dancing donna

If only humans treated animals like most dogs treat humans...kindly, loyally, and lovingly.




Lord almighty, who is stupid enough to get that close to a raccoon's blood like that? If it was exhibiting symptoms of rabies, get a shotgun out, or if you are in town, call animal control. This was insane.


We don't know why he attacked the raccoon so should not make assumptions.


It was malicious. He's not a good person.


Hurt people hurt people. This guy is one of the most damaged in our society and I fear this is just the beginning of his violent attacks.


he will get off because he will say he feared it was rabid and therefore tried to kill it

Hollowed Ground

People treat animals like they treat people. Today he bashed an injured racoon. Tomorrow he will bash a child or a person in a wheelchair or someone of the sort.


Sounds like this animal was already sick or injured prior to this guy hitting it with a wrench. They are not the type of animal to stand around and wait to get hit like a possum will. There seems to be more to this story and we are only hearing one side of it.


'“Based on everything we found, we think this was a violent act, one that was deliberate and intentional and unnecessary.”' Unnecessary. The rest of this story does not portend well for the human.

That Guy Garcon

So even though they knew the raccoon was injured by the idiot in the picture, it still had to be put down? Wow, that sucks. Sure hope someone punches that guy in the nuts and takes him down. I bet he still won't be euthanized. [angry]

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