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Officials warn of sick, zombie-like raccoons in New Orleans

3 years 4 weeks 14 hours ago Tuesday, January 26 2021 Jan 26, 2021 January 26, 2021 3:19 PM January 26, 2021 in News
Source: WWL-TV
Photo: WWL-TV

NEW ORLEANS - Sick, "erratic" raccoons are roaming in New Orleans' City Park, and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries say these animals can be deadly to pets.

“Over the last several months, we started getting reports of people physically seeing raccoons acting erratic,” City Park COO Robert DeVeney told WWL. “We started witnessing it. We brought in Wildlife and Fisheries to help us understand what was going on.”

The animals are infected with canine distemper, according to LWF. It's a virus that can make raccoons act like zombies and can be deadly to dogs.

Park-goers and dog walkers have expressed their concern, especially after warning signs were put out in the area.

Though the infected raccoons are not dangerous to humans, officials say they pose a threat to dogs and cats.

“If you’re letting your dog loose off of the leash and the dog has not been vaccinated against canine distemper, you run the risk of them interacting with one of these sick raccoons and you know it’s transmitted by inhalation,” DeVeney said.

Raccoons with distemper are said to curl up to sleep in open areas and approach people. Generally, these animals act disoriented but can become aggressive if they feel threatened.

Distemper can be transmitted by direct contact with an infected raccoon or its droppings, WWL reports.

City Park officials remind visitors to keep dogs on a leash at all times unless they are at the dog park.

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