'Zombie raccoons' are infiltrating a Chicago suburb

Hide your kids, hide your dogs!

By Jack Roskopp - Graham Media Group
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OK, so they're not actually raccoons that have come back from the dead like "Pet Sematary," here to end humanity, but raccoons that have tested positive for distemper are roaming around the west Chicago suburb of Riverside, and authorities there are warning residents against the zombie-looking critters.

According to the Riverside Police Department, residents in the community have been advised to steer clear of the raccoons and to make sure their dogs don't come in contact with them, since the disease can spread easily.

“When our dogs are exposed to coughing or sneezing, it can stay in the environment for a while," a veterinarian told TV station WGN. "If your dog is in the backyard, and this is especially true of unvaccinated dogs like puppies, and a raccoon has been in the area, it can be spread by most bodily fluids.” 

Police said they found three raccoons that were infected with the disease, but because it is so contagious, there could be more lurking around. 

"It seems every year around this time, we get a rise in calls about raccoons acting oddly and we respond to calls about raccoons that may be a danger to the public. Our policy allows us to put down animals that are suffering or pose a threat to public safety," police Chief Tom Weitzel said. 

Needless to say, and once again, the raccoons aren’t actually zombies, but police said they’re referring to them as such because of the way the infected are walking — on their back legs with their front legs sticking out in front of them.

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