Police investigate reports of 'zombie' raccoons

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He said the animal followed him and his dog to his door, so he chose to photograph the raccoon stepping on its hind legs.

Coggeshall thought something was wrong with the raccoon, since it was out in broad daylight. What next came up confirmed that. Coggeshall says the animal would stand on its hind legs, show its teeth and fall over backward. Saliva dripped from its mouth. The man said that it collapsed suddenly into a comatose-like state.

One of Robert Coggeshall's beagles eye-balls the raccoon through the back door.

The wildlife photographer and naturalist, Coggeshall, for two hours, watched the raccoon repeat the freakish pattern over and over again.

According to WKBN in Youngstown, police have taken more than a dozen calls about these incidents since the start of March.

Police received calls about 14 raccoons over the past three weeks, with some of the residents making the zombie comparison. The first? An outbreak of what residents have described as "zombie-like behavior" involving raccoons who bare their teeth, walk on their hind legs and don't seem to be afraid of humans.

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Youngstown police were busy this weekend fighting crime - and raccoons. More likely, these animals are suffering from a disease known as "distemper".

It does not affect humans, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The viral disease causes coughing, tremors and seizures and leads raccoons to lose their fear of humans.

The "particular behavior" is daunting those who are confused as to why the raccoons aren't responding to loud noise and large motions to scare them. All of the infected and found animals have had to be euthanized in order to control the spread of the disease. While distemper is not the same as rabies, some of the symptoms are similar.

If you happen to see a "zombie" raccoon in your neighborhood, it's a good idea to make sure your pup is vaccinated and supervise them closely when they go outside.

He said diseases like this stay local and eventually die off. But to do that, the diseased animals often need to be trapped. "I really do", Coggeshall told The Washington Post.

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