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City of Grand Haven seeing increase in sick raccoons

File image of raccoon
Posted at 5:57 AM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 05:57:32-05

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Officers from the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety are sending a warning to residents after responding to five reports of sick raccoons in the past few weeks.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, reports are prevalent in Ottawa County. It is believed the raccoons are suffering from canine distemper, which cannot be spread to humans.

People often think canine distemper has rabbis since the symptoms can look the same, but the diseases are not.

Residents with cats or dogs should be on alert as animals can be infected with distemper.

The DNR reports that an annual “die off” of raccoons from distemper is normal.

Raccoons observed outside during daylight hours may be infected with the disease since they are normally nocturnal. Other symptoms include slow movement, stumbling, appear confused, may become aggressive, or having no fear of humans.

We're told one raccoon was captured in the 1200 block of Fulton and has been sent to MSU for testing.

Raccoons believed to be infected will be removed and humanely euthanized to avoid the spread of the disease to other wildlife and pets.

If you do see a raccoon acting strangely, call 911 and provide the location and do not approach it.