The number of “sick” raccoons moving into Bridgeville and South Fayette has community leaders worried about the spread of disease by the wild animals.
“Something is obviously wrong because I’ve never seen this many calls for sick raccoons,” Bridgeville police Chief Chad King said.
King said he his police department has received 16 or 17 calls in the past two months for raccoons that appear to be disoriented or diseased. They don’t necessarily have rabies, King said, but could have “a dozen other diseases.”
No one has been injured from any raccoons, although one apparently bit a Bridgeville resident’s pet. The animal tested negative for rabies and is doing fine.
He urged people to stay away from the animals and call 911 if they notice anything wrong.
“They look like a drunk raccoon,” King said, alluding to them swaying and staggering while they walk.
Kings has contacted the Allegheny County Health Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture about the situation. The Department of Agriculture, which has offices in Coraopolis and South Park, is hoping to capture one of the animals so it can be tested for disease.
King said the cases have been reported “everywhere” in the borough, and cautioned people to not approach them. He added that there also are "quite a few" in South Fayette Township.
Last year, Allegheny County warned people walking on the Panhandle Trail in South Fayette to be on the lookout for rabid raccoons after a dog apparently fought with one last April. The county also worked in this area last summer trying to vaccinate the raccoon population.
Do you have a lot of raccoons by your home? Have you seen any of the possibly diseased raccoons? Tell us in the comments.
This article first appeared on Chartiers Valley Patch.