"Poor officer McNulty. I think he's been the one to dispatch all of them," said Animal Control Officer Evan Barlow, who has been on all the calls as well. Animal Control officers don't carry weapons.
Barlow said they've been getting an unusual number of calls reporting sick raccoons, about two - five per week (the animals are not always still there when officers arrive), this month. In each case, he said, the animals demonstrate the same symptoms: lethargic behavior, with the animal reluctant to move, failing to react to loud noises. "A couple have shown signs of aggression," Barlow said.
The raccoons haven't been tested for rabies, Barlow said, because so far they haven't come in contact with pets or people. He offered advice to keep things that way:
- Make sure your pets are up to date on their rabies shots
- Keep cats inside. (Barlow said this spate of incidents is a good argument for keeping cats indoors in general)
- Keep your dog on a leash
- Don't approach a raccoon acting strangely or exhibiting the reported symptoms. Call Animal Control at (401) 435-7675.
The two most recent calls occurred Tuesday morning, Dec. 3, one at 8 a.m. on Worcester Avenue, the second at 11 a.m. off Main Street near Little Neck Cemetery. In each case, Officer McNulty put the animals down, Barlow said.
Because of the area and timing of the calls, Barlow and McNulty have coincidentally wound up responding to all the reports together. "It's pretty much been me and him," Barlow said.