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Sick wildlife

Polk animal control warns of recent distemper cases

POLK COUNTY—Polk County Animal Control Officer Patti Lovelace says her office has received several calls about sick raccoons and fox over the past several weeks. 

She said none of the animals have tested positive for rabies, which most likely means they likely have distemper. 

Lovelace told the Bulletin this week she does have one animal sent off to be tested for rabies, but those results were not available as of press time. 

“It is the same kind of distemper as found in dogs,” Lovelace said. “It is North Carolina State Law that all dogs, cats and ferrets be kept current on rabies vaccines.” 

Lovelace said it is very important to keep dogs current on the distemper vaccine because they can catch it from wildlife who carry the disease. 

This time of year is when wildlife have babies and the wildlife parent will be searching for food during the daytime, Lovelace said. If a raccoon or fox sees you and they are healthy, they will run away. 

“If they are sick, they will act very lethargic, confused, will stumble around and will not run away,” Lovelace said. “If you see wildlife that appears to be sick, you need to call Polk County Animal Control immediately.” 

Lovelace advised pet owners to get their pets vaccinated. The Polk County Animal Control, under the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, provides rabies clinics twice a year to get pets current on vaccines at a low cost. 

For more information on where to take your pet for vaccines, call Polk County Animal Control at 828-894-3001 or the county communications office at 828-894-0188.