Toronto police warn of raccoon virus spreading through south end of city

Feb 12 2018, 11:17 pm

While many Toronto raccoon stories involve a comical sighting, the most recent incident is causing concern.

Over the weekend, Toronto Police reported a number of raccoon complaints, including that a man was chased and bit by a raccoon.

Following the incident, police said that Animal Services had caught the raccoon before advising the public that there is a virus outbreak spreading through the animals in the south end of the city.

Police also said that over the past few days, they had picked up a number of raccoons who will all be tested.

Tammy Robbinson, a spokesperson for Toronto Animal Services, told Daily Hive on Monday that the virus in question is distemper, not rabies, and that the gentleman who encountered the raccoon told the Animal Services’ dispatch officer that the raccoon bit the toe of his boot.

“Over the last few years, there have been hundreds of cases of distemper in raccoons – in all parts of Toronto,” said Robbinson.

“Raccoons with distemper often appear sick and/or unusual before, but there is no harm to humans.”

According to Robbinson, raccoons who are distempered may behave aggressively if they are sick, disturbed from their den, are being protective or if they feel threatened – all of which are similar effects of rabies.

Robbinson then confirmed that there are no cases of rabies in raccoons in Toronto.

To ensure the safety of your pets, Robbinson said pet owners should make sure all pets are properly vaccinated and to always be cautious around any type of wildlife, especially if it appears to be sick or injured.

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