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Police investigate reports of ‘zombie’ raccoons

UPDATED: Wed., April 4, 2018, 5:41 p.m.

Three kits  check out the scenery a foot from their litter den in a backyard on the South Hill in Spokane in this July 2013 file photo. (Liz Kishimoto / The Spokesman-Review)
Three kits check out the scenery a foot from their litter den in a backyard on the South Hill in Spokane in this July 2013 file photo. (Liz Kishimoto / The Spokesman-Review)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Police are investigating reports of “zombie-like” raccoons in northeast Ohio.

WKBN-TV reports Youngstown police have received more than a dozen calls in the past three weeks about raccoons acting strangely in the daytime.

Photographer Robert Coggeshall says he was playing with his dogs outside his home last week when one such raccoon approached them. Coggeshall says the animal would stand on its hind legs, show its teeth and fall over backward.

The raccoon Coggeshall saw and 14 others police responded to were euthanized.

The state Department of Natural Resources says the animals were likely suffering from distemper, not rabies. The viral disease causes coughing, tremors and seizures and leads raccoons to lose their fear of humans.

Authorities are asking residents to report raccoons behaving unusually to their local police station.


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