Sick raccoons causing concerns in Provo

Local News

PROVO, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Provo City Police Department wants to alert the public after dozens of reports of sick raccoons.

It’s in the area of 300 South and 300 West.

“We’ve had more than 40 total,” said Elena Farnsworth, an animal control officer with the Provo Police Department.

Within the past six months, the department decided to get the animals tested.

Those results showed the raccoons were sick with canine distemper.

“It’s a viral disease in both dogs and any type of canine,” said Farnsworth. “It’s highly contagious. It probably originally spread from dogs to wildlife in Utah.”

Symptoms appear similar to rabies and include a runny nose and eyes, aimless wandering and disorientation.

Craig Alleman lives in the area where the raccoons are being spotted.

“I don’t know if they might have any diseases or anything like that,” he said. “So, I stay away from them myself.”

Alleman says he’s seen some raccoons coming out from under his shed in his backyard.

“At least a couple of times a week,” he says. “walking up and down the driveway. They go across the street over to the neighbor’s house. I don’t know what they’re doing.”

Animal control is warning the public to stay away from the animals.

In the later stages of the disease, the raccoons act disoriented and people are able to get closer to them than usual.

“We’ve had kids who’ve wanted to go pet them.” said Farnsworth. “we definitely don’t want anyone approaching them, or trying to touch them because they will react violently.”

If you see a raccoon, please call the Provo Police non-emergency dispatch line at 801-852-6210.

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