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Authorities warn of sick raccoons in the Four Corners

Meg Hilling
September 29, 2017 06:31 AM

FARMINGTON, N.M. -- Many people have come across a raccoon once or twice. While they may seem adorable, authorities are asking the community in Farmington to stay clear of these creatures.

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"Our animal control officers have been receiving more calls for raccoons that are sick," said Georgette Allen, a spokesperson for the Farmington Police Department said. "And they are displaying behaviors or symptoms that, you know, would make us think they might have distemper."

Distemper is a virus that causes the raccoons to become ill and act strangely. It can be transmitted to other creatures, including pets. Symptoms of distemper could include loss of fear of humans, confusion, aimless wandering, and the presentation of mucus. The virus can be transmitted via air, saliva or direct contact.

"A lot of times, you will see discharge from the eyes and the noses. If it progresses, sometimes it attacks their gastrointestinal [system], so they might have bloody diarrhea or bad stool or [are] not eating," Stacie Voss with the Farmington Animal Shelter said.

Pet owners who walk along the trails are being asked to keep their dogs on leashes and observe their pet for any signs of illness. Residents are encouraged to call animal control or vets if they see a raccoon or their own dog with symptoms of distemper.

"It does make me nervous," Farmington resident Guy Shephard said. "I think that it is a natural cycle, but I think that problem is being exacerbated by, again, well-meaning but misguided people who think animals can't live on their own."

Credits

Meg Hilling

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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