A video of the man and the raccoon shortly before he was attacked Q13 Fox

A man described as a 'free spirit' was shot and run over in Washington state on Sunday (25 June) while dragging a dead raccoon down a country road on a 15ft rope. The suspect is believed to have become upset because he thought the raccoon was a dead dog.

The shirtless, bearded victim was intending to use the animal as bait in a crab pot. Prior to the attack, Mason County Police had received calls from several other people who believed the man was towing a dead dog.

Q13 Fox News reported that the deputies responded to these calls and established that the unnamed victim was in fact dragging a raccoon down the road, which is not illegal.

They even offered him a lift to his destination but he refused because it would have meant leaving his roadkill behind, which he needed to have to catch crabs in a nearby creek because he was broke.

Police then received another call: a Caucasian male driving a black truck was pointing a gun at the raccoon-catcher on Route 3 near Lake Devereaux Road.

The driver, also under the misapprehension that the victim was carrying a dead dog, shot and hit the victim with his vehicle, hospitalising him, before fleeing.

"In my eyes, it's a form of vigilante kind of justice, and it's inappropriate and it's dangerous to the public," said Mason County Sheriff's Office Detective Chris Liles said. "It's a situation where the suspect kind of thought he could handle the law himself."

Mason County raccoon shooting
The victim was intending to use the raccoon as crab bait Screengrab/Q13 Fox

Police warn that the suspect, whose extended truck is believed to be a 1992-97 Ford, is armed and dangerous. If a member of the public believes they have seen him, they should not approach but contact authorities.

The victim has now been released from hospital. Jake Schley, a friend, has set up a fundraising page on Facebook to raise money for him.

Mason county suspect shooter
Police are hunting the owner of this vehicle Mason County Sheriff's Office

Schley had driven past the victim shortly before the attack and filmed a short clip of him with his raccoon.

"He is a free spirit and lives off the land," Schley told Q13. "I am jealous of the life he lives, with not a care in the world and a smile on his face and love in his heart. He is truly a great person."

Audio footage of the call made to police has also been released. In it, a female member of the public says: "He's aiming the gun at him. Oh my God! He's aiming a gun at the guy dragging the raccoon. Now the guy's swinging the raccoon around."

A member of the public calls 911 to tell them the man is being shot at Q13/Fox