Animal Control in Stickney, Illinois, is worried that the town's skunks may have distemper as well

By Kelli Bender
March 19, 2019 02:56 PM
Credit: Gail Shotlander/Getty

Small town problems include drunk birds, and now, zombie raccoons.

According to, the residents of Stickney, Illinois, have noticed several raccoons exhibiting “zombie-like” behaviors, including growling, teeth baring, stumbling in circles, and generally acting strange.

Stickney Township Animal Control has responded to at least four calls about erratic raccoons since the start of 2019. These incidents have prompted Animal Control to issue a warning about local raccoons potentially carrying the canine distemper virus.

“The Stickney Township Animal control has issued a warning to be on the lookout for raccoons that may be acting strange.They may have distemper. Warning signs will be they are not moving and just staring, growling showing their teeth, crawling in circles,” the Stickney Police Department posted on Facebook. “If you see one of these animals do not approach them. Do not let your dogs and children near them. Do not try to feed them. Call Stickney Township Animal Control at 708-424-9200 immediately.”

Animal Control is also encouraging dog owners to make sure their canine’s distemper vaccination is up to date, since it is possible for the disease to spread from raccoon to dog.

The symptoms of canine distemper in dogs include fever, nasal discharge, crusty eye discharge, lethargy, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea. If you think your dog has distemper, it is important to take them to the vet right away. Canine distemper is a serious disease that can be fatal for dogs, reports WBBM News Radio.

According to NBC Chicago, Animal Control is concerned local skunks could be suffering from distemper as well. Wildlife expert Rebecca Fyffe told the NBC affiliate that distemper does not cause wild animals to act aggressive, so humans should be safe around “zombie raccoons” as long as they give the animals their space.