Republican Congressman Steve King’s getting national attention for shooting a raccoon to death last week.  King was at his rural western Iowa home on Tuesday, February 9 and posted a message on Twitter, saying he had killed a “Crazy Raccoon” trying to claw its way into his house.  He used a gun called a “Desert Eagle.”

“A Desert Eagle is an Israeli-made, semi-automatic pistol,” King says. 

In early February King’s wife told him a raccoon had tried to dig through a vent underneath the family room in their rural home.  King was standing in that family room last week when a raccoon started to scratch on the sliding-glass windows.

“I grabbed the gun and when I opened the door he ran, so I ran around the other side of the house where he was going instead of where he’d come from and that’s essentially where we met,” King says. “That’s what needs to happen, especially out in the country when you have animals that are acting irrationally. There are about three things that could be wrong: distemper, rabies or they could just be extraordinarily hungry and it’ll cause them to act in that fashion.” 

King says his grandchildren play in the yard and he didn’t want a dangerous animal in the area.  A Washington, D.C. publication called “Roll Call” wrote a story about King’s raccoon slaying. That story then prompted a response from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  A PETA spokeswoman says the “small animal” was merely trying to find “shelter from the blizzard.”

King scoffs at that. “A small animal would be a mouse, I suppose, or a shrew. A ‘coon is a medium sized animal, but if anybody’s every tackled one with a club or with no weapon whatsoever, you’ll find out they get pretty ferocious,” King says. “They’re not an animal that anyone should mess with, nor should we treat them as if they are pets of they could be pets.”

During a telephone interview this afternoon with Radio Iowa, King joked that he’d welcome any PETA members to his farm.

“If they show up in the middle of a blizzard and try to claw their way through a window, I would prefer they came around and use the doorbell,” King said. “If that’s the case, I’ll give them a warm place to stay for the night and I’ll serve them some bacon and eggs for breakfast in the morning.”

According to King, he feeds other, smaller wildlife during the winter, setting up a corn cob feeder for squirrels.  The family also sees fox, pheasants and rabbits on the property during the wintertime, but King said none of those animals have tried to enter his home.