DELAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Some Volusia County cities are warning residents about recent sightings of sick raccoons. Officials say the animals have distemper, a disease that can potentially be fatal if spread to pets.
“It was a little unusual,” says Chris Bove, who spotted a raccoon in a DeBary neighborhood acting strange a few days ago.
He says it was sitting in the street and then laid down on the sidewalk.
“He was just sitting there looking at me and he wasn’t interested in moving, I tried creeping up on him and honking the horn and he just wasn’t interested at all,” Bove explains.
“Raccoons that are infected with distemper usually move slowly, stumble, appear confused and can lose their fear of humans. Some sick raccoons can become aggressive,” according to a news release provided by the city of DeLand.
Officials say at least seven raccoons showing these symptoms have been found in the area within the last week. The City of Edgewater also sent a warning to residents recently. The problem is, distemper can spread to other animals.
“It can be passed onto pets and it can be potentially fatal,” said Chris Graham, a spokesperson for the city of DeLand.
According to a report from Oregon Fish and Wildlife, distemper is spread through direct contact with body fluids or droppings from an infected animal. Local officials say you should bring your pet food inside and keep your distance.
“It’s just something you want people to stay away from, even if they are easy to approach like that,” Bove said.
Pets can get a vaccination for distemper.
Video of raccoon showing symptoms of distemper is courtesy of Affordable Wildlife Removal.