RAYTOWN, Mo. -- Raccoons are often considered more of a nuisance than a danger, but Raytown residents are worried about some of the animals roaming their streets.
Robert and Grace McCloskey found one of the unwelcome visitors in their backyard.
"He was just going around barking at him," Robert McCloskey said of his dog's reaction to the raccoon.
McCloskey immediately brought his German Shepherd inside, but the raccoon remained in the yard.
"It just sat there and wouldn't move," he added.
The McCloskey's aren't the only Raytown residents spotting sick raccoons. Just down the street, a neighbor spotted one hunched over under a tree. The neighborhood was surprised to find out Raytown animal control couldn't help with the problem.
"We want this thing gone, but they didn't come and get it," Grace McCloskey said.
In Raytown and in most cities, animal control only deals with domestic animals and feral cats, unless the circumstances are highly unusual. Anything else, according to the city administrator, has to be referred to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The raccoon pictured above was later diagnosed with distemper, a highly contagious viral disease that can infect pets.
The Lakeside Nature Center said you should be wary of a raccoon that:
- Isn't afraid of you
- Is unstable or wobbly
- Is unsure of its surroundings
The center recommends calling them at 816-513-8960 if you suspect a raccoon could be sick. Staff members can diagnose symptoms and figure out what steps should be taken next.
Dr. Eugene Irvin of the BluePearl Lee's Summit vet hospital told 41 Action News protection against distemper is included in the standard vaccines your dog receives. He added infection is highly unlikely if your pet is current on vaccines and generally healthy. If your pet is not vaccinated, signs of distemper can include:
- Upper respiratory problems
- Heavy mucus/discharge from eyes and nose
More information can be found here.