Pickerington Times-Sun

Protect & Serve

Most sick raccoons have parvo virus or distemper, not rabies

Welcome to Protect & Serve, a monthly column featuring news and information from the communication technicians (or police dispatchers, as we are more commonly known) at the Pickerington Police Department.

We want to pass on to you, our residents, some of the more common complaints and concerns we receive in an effort to keep you safer and better informed.

The arrival of spring often brings with it increased calls regarding wildlife.

The most common complaint/ concern we receive is about raccoons out during the day that appear ill and possibly rabid.

These normally nocturnal creatures are usually described as appearing disoriented, staggering, foaming at the mouth and, on the rare occasion, aggressive.

Officer Tony Zerkle, Wildlife Officer for Fairfield County, says he commonly sees raccoons with suspected cases of parvo virus and canine distemper (neither are contagious to humans), and isn't aware of a reported case of raccoon rabies in central Ohio in decades.

Commander Greg Annis, who heads our Patrol Division, wants residents to know that "if the animal is merely a nuisance our officers can assist in shooing it away, otherwise (residents) will have to contact a private service for removal."

He stresses there are "inherent dangers with the use of firearms" in residential areas, so, officers will only shoot the raccoon if it is "sick, injured, overly aggressive and a hazard to humans."

The Protect & Serve column was submitted by the communication technicians at the Pickerington Police Department.