Officials: Raccoons don't have to die

NILES -- Animal welfare officials caution that this is the time of year raccoons come out of hibernation, and just because you see one during the day, that doesn't mean it's rabid.
A Cedar Avenue resident called police Thursday afternoon to report a raccoon. The call was referred to the city's animal control officer, Donna Grombacher.
When she arrived, she found two men standing in the driveway with a raccoon impaled on a piece of reinforced rod covered with the covering from a child's sandbox.
The raccoon wasn't dead and it tried to pull itself off of the rod and crawl away with its intestines hanging out, Grombacher and Paula Humphrey, Trumbull County humane investigator, said. The animal was euthanized.
"This time of year, raccoons are just coming out of hibernation," Humphrey said.
It's not unusual for them to be disoriented, she said. Raccoons generally are most active at night.
"If an animal is sick or injured, call us," Grombacher said. "If it's after hours, call the police department and they'll page us. Being cruel to the animals is not the answer."
Joel Porath, wildlife biologist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife, said the animal likely didn't have rabies. Most sick raccoons have canine distemper.
If the idea is to send a raccoon for rabies testing, the recommended way to kill it is to shoot it or hit it on the head. The aim should be to kill the raccoon quickly and efficiently, he said.
Humphrey and Grombacher urge people to place screens in their doors and windows if they intend to open them, keep lids on garbage cans and not to feed raccoons.

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