West Seattle wildlife: Sick raccoon caught in Fauntleroy

The reader report and photos are from Rebecca in the Fauntleroy Cove area:

Early this afternoon, I discovered a raccoon wandering around the property; it was daytime and I thought it strange that a raccoon would be out and about.

After watching him for a minute I realized he was either very sick or dying. Turns out he had distemper, which is highly contagious and can kill off an entire colony of raccoons, not to mention infect dogs and humans.

I called Seattle Animal Control and they were on the scene in about 20 minutes, quickly caught the little guy, and took him off in a cage. If he isn’t too badly infected, he will receive treatment; otherwise he’ll be euthanized.

We are fortunate to have a diverse population of wildlife in West Seattle and it’s important to keep an eye out for abnormalities that could be a threat to them, us or our pets.

Distemper signs to look for: Conjunctivitis in the eyes, mucous discharge covering the eyes. Wandering around in circles, disoriented, falling down, slower than normal movement. For more information check out Distemper in Raccoons. The number for Animal Control: 206-386-7387

40 Replies to "West Seattle wildlife: Sick raccoon caught in Fauntleroy"

  • ensignmarvin March 25, 2012 (4:32 pm)

    Thank you for paying attention to your surroundings. Not everyone does. Hope he wasn’t too far beyond help. They seem such a close knit family unit.

  • Alki Resident March 25, 2012 (4:47 pm)

    Awww,poor little guy,Hopes he makes it.Good think someone was able to see him otherwise he’d be dying in the woods somewhere alone.

  • KD March 25, 2012 (5:00 pm)

    @Rebecca; Blessings to you for your compassion for the raccoon, animals-wildlife or domestic need caring people like you for their welfare. Distemper is a painful, miserable disease that also can be passed to our feral and domestic cat population also. Thankyou for taking it out of it’s misery, whichever path it took. With Spring here now, many puppies and kittens are around the corner, and alot of people don’t recognize parvo and distemper-so prevalent in the babies, and they let them suffer and die.., so make sure to get the young ones to the Vet for their check-up folks!

  • valvashon March 25, 2012 (5:07 pm)

    Treatment for a raccoon? WTF?

  • Rumb March 25, 2012 (5:14 pm)

    That should be a good enough reason not to feed or otherwise attract these animals.

  • MB March 25, 2012 (5:18 pm)

    Poor little guy! We had a set of kittens a few years back that all had distemper they one buy one died after trying to be nursed back to health by my sisters and I. It’s a truly heart breaking illness for any animal to get. Hope he gets better!

  • robin March 25, 2012 (5:26 pm)

    Thank you, Rebecca, for your kind and humane help. Poor baby will be better off, whichever route animal control takes, than left to fend for itself outside and sick.

    You also potentially saved many neighborhood cats and other pets and wildlife! Bravo!

  • Aman March 25, 2012 (5:47 pm)

    Nice Catch Rebecca, Good work!

  • KD March 25, 2012 (6:01 pm)

    @ValVason; read all the other posts. Not caring (WTF) leads to pain and misery for other animals and possible death, and always huge Vetinary expense if disease is contracted. I forgot to thank WSBlog for initially posting this story and recognizing it is worthy in helping people who read your journalism to tend to wildlife in distress, and helping our domestic pets in the long run. It’s all connected folks.., so is compassion – SO PAY IT FORWARD!

  • ILoveWestSeattle March 25, 2012 (6:09 pm)

    Thanks for caring for and about this little raccoon, everyone.
    Distemper sounds like an awful disease, I hope he is no longer suffering, whatever the outcome.

  • cj March 25, 2012 (6:42 pm)

    I hope people don’t get freaked out and go around shooting wild life or putting out poison bait now for fear of the disease. It could be with all the dogs we have around here that the raccoon was bitten by a dog. I see more and more dogs off leashes every month.

  • jesse March 25, 2012 (6:53 pm)

    Treat a raccoon? Ridiculous! Our tax dollars are better spent else where. For example, free spay & neuter clinics for cats & dogs… & raccoon’s. I wonder if it’s the same one that killed my chickens.

  • Tony March 25, 2012 (7:46 pm)

    @cj- Don’t know how many encounters you’ve had with racoons around here but from what I’ve seen over the years there aren’t too many dogs that can tangle with a raccoon and come out of it unscathed. Even the resident coyotes seem to ‘share the space” with them.

  • TLC March 25, 2012 (7:53 pm)

    Ugh. People, it’s not our tax dollars being wasted. I’ve worked for animal rescue in the area & although Seattle Animal Control is the one who responds & takes the animal in, the decision is then made at the shelter as to whether the animal is so bad they euthanize immediately or, if not, it is transferred to a wildlife rescue group (because SAC is not equipped to handle wildlife). These organizations are non-profit and funded by donations and private grants (in our area), so if they decide to treat, it’s not coming from your tax dollars. If you don’t like it, don’t donate to them. Otherwise be happy the raccoon won’t be out there to spread the disease.

  • Marcia206 March 25, 2012 (8:23 pm)

    Last June a raccoon came through my cat door, bit me and my dog and held my two cats against the bookshelf until my husband could get him out. $10,000 dollars on my insurance, six painful shots for me and one for my dog later and they still stand outside my French doors and taunt us. My compassion was used up when I realized I would need to sit in the ER for hours five times in one month.

  • M March 25, 2012 (8:48 pm)

    Racoons also carry a parasite in their fur that is very hazardous to humans if ingested; it can lead to blindness among other things. I really beleive the people who feed these animals are doing eveyone a disservice. They are not pets.

  • Mike March 25, 2012 (9:05 pm)

    TLC, well said. Marcia206, sorry you had to get shots, remove the cat door. You’re opening your house to a wide variety of wildlife and making it incredibly easy for a criminal to break into your house, no joke.

  • Alki Resident March 25, 2012 (9:16 pm)

    Marcia_Can you get them trapped and have them relocated by chance?Hate to see those little stalkers tormenting you like this.

  • Alki Resident March 25, 2012 (9:51 pm)


    • WSB March 25, 2012 (10:07 pm)

      Deleted the comment ridiculing another commenter. Thanks for the flag (editor@westseattleblog.com) – TR

  • North Admiral March 25, 2012 (9:56 pm)

    …yet when I called Animal Control two years ago to report a sick, disoriented raccoon in our backyard that was driving all the neighborhood dogs crazy, they told me, “we don’t respond to raccoon calls unless they’re dead.” I sarcastically offered to shoot it, and she matter of factly said, “then we’ll respond. We only have three trucks you know.”

    My experience – mine and my neighbors in NA and Alki – with Animal ‘Control’ is that they write tickets. I simply haven’t had an understanding of their great works beyond stalking off leash or non-licensed pets.

  • Marcia206 March 25, 2012 (9:59 pm)

    I didn’t say I am being held hostage, I just need for people to understand that while they are cute creatures, they come with some very significant financial and physical issues. But I understand you wanted to make a joke of it North Haverbrook. It is clearly not an issue for you. Laugh it up until you see your little dog in the grasp of a wild animal in a confined space. I would do anything to save her. She saved the cats and I saved her. It doesn’t seem funny to me but then…I have a heart!

  • bleeblah March 25, 2012 (10:02 pm)

    We do share our territory with their territory so we should behave humanely to them — after all they are wild animals — they do not intentionally /willfully trouble us to make us miserable or scared — they are just being…wild animals. Plus, we have a rather large number of advantages over them. Be kind people, geez.

  • mehud March 25, 2012 (11:23 pm)

    M-what parasite lives in their fur? KD and others- raccoons and dogs get the same distemper or parvo. Cats have their own strain. Don’t know how the raccoon was diagnosed with distemper by sight. Also, humans cannot catch distemper. Glad you called for help for it Rebecca.

  • Gregory Wade March 26, 2012 (6:36 am)

    The resilient scavengers adapted to a built environment do not represent “diverse wildlife.”

  • karen March 26, 2012 (7:35 am)

    Raccoon dung parasite


    “A raccoon latrine in King County is very likely to contain roundworm eggs that can be hazardous to human health. The larvae travel throughout the body and may cause serious eye disease, spinal cord or brain damage, or death. Discouraging raccoons from living around people and cleaning up raccoon latrines reduces the chance that people will get sick from raccoon roundworms.” From King County Public Health

  • M March 26, 2012 (8:53 am)

    Thanks for responding for me Karen! It gets caught in their fur so it’s not only is the stool. A boy from I believe KY died from it.

  • Norma March 26, 2012 (9:10 am)

    @Marcia – Way to go Marcia. Some people just don’t get it.
    I remember the pain inflicted on your family. I love God’s creatures but common sense must prevail.

  • Birgit March 26, 2012 (10:03 am)

    I’m working with animals all my life and the only creatures that ever made me sick were humans!

    Distemper does NOT infect humans, please don’t spread more fear and ignorance. As one can see, there’s enough of it around already.

    Statements such as a waste of tax dollars to CARE for a raccoon shows me that this person has not done their homework and has no clue that a raccoon is right next on the IQ scale to a monkey and has the sense of a 2 year old human. They feel and have the same kind of family structures as we do. Please do your research before you blast an entire species to hell.

    As to roundworms and rabies and distemper…it’s usually the unvaccinated pets that spread these diseases, not the wildlife…they only end up as the final victims.

  • patricia March 26, 2012 (10:31 am)

    Birgit, I’m glad you did your homework and have all the right facts. Thanks for making it clear to the uneducated, that don’t know. I can only hope they will listen. I know for a fact its not funded by our tax dollars. I hope the best for the poor coon and mother coons will come out during the day, when her kits are a sleep. Doesn’t mean she’s sick at all by the way.

  • brin March 26, 2012 (10:42 am)

    Round worm is insidious. The spores can persist in the soil for years, be eaten and inhaled by children playing in it, and then hatch and kill in a week or two. It’s extremely rare, but because it mimics some other horrible brain diseases, it may be under-reported. It’s also more prevalent in warmer, Southern states, which may help explain some of the ‘coons on round worm’ ideas that sometimes come out of there. And I saw a an episode of ‘House’ where it was the mystery disease, so it has to be true.

    Our pet rabbit died from it 7 or 8 years ago because we had stupidly build his pen in the exact place where raccoons would poop in our yard. At the same time our 7 year old started complaining about his eyes – one of the first symptoms – and that wasn’t much fun either. I called the County Health Department to see what they knew or recommended but the person I talked with didn’t know anything about round worm. And when I started talking about raccoon poop, and brain eating spores that hide in the soil for years, that pretty much ended the conversation, although she did exhibit real empathy toward my mental state. Glad to see they’re finally on it. Probably saw the House episode.

  • Rumbles March 26, 2012 (11:58 am)

    While it is certainly admirable to be kind to other creatures, one must use common sense when dealing with wild animals. Diseases aside, the possibility of an attack to children or domestic animals is very real. When people think of animals like raccoons as “cute” or “sweet” it is naive. Providing them with food is foolish and all you do is make the problem of them being around worse.

    Wild animals are wild for a reason, and while we can do the debate on sharing a habitat and who was here first that is not the crux of the issue. Really, it is about an animal that is provided an larger than normal food source (either on purpose or accident) which increases the likelihood of us crossing paths by increasing the animals comfort with humans. If you lived in the Cascade foothills where would you draw the line at feeding and encouraging wild animals? Raccoons, cougars, bears?? I’m sure there are some people who would justify feeding any animal, and be puzzled about why they were injured by the same.

    Not that us humans are perfect, but wild animals are wild animals. Feed them and encourage them to be around at your own, and likely your neighbors, at your own peril.

  • datamuse March 26, 2012 (5:31 pm)

    I’m trying to figure out where in this discussion anyone was advocating feeding wildlife.

  • mehud March 26, 2012 (7:44 pm)

    Cats and dogs also carry roundworms. Using nothing more than common sense would mean that we wash our hands frequently, especially after working in the garden or handling poo and keeping our pets updated on vaccines and dewormings. I have never heard of roundworms traveling on animals’ fur.
    Thank you Birgit for your level-headed response.

  • Snow Wimp March 26, 2012 (8:38 pm)

    The raccoons that stray on my precious property, I refer to the West Seattle Welcome Wagon. They offer them toys and little toy easter bunnies to play with. I like to dress the easter bunnies up as little bandits. When the raccoons see them they are so happy they jump for joy! Wee wee, they exclaim.

  • John Q. Lincoln March 27, 2012 (11:28 am)

    Big rats!

  • stacy March 27, 2012 (6:36 pm)

    Thank you for paying attention and doing the right thing.

  • rmp March 28, 2012 (10:31 am)

    Sad, I’m not particularly fond of racoons, they are cute … I’d never feed them. But I care for almost any type of animal and don’t like to see any thing/one suffer. Thanks to caring people.

  • Katherine M April 6, 2012 (4:54 am)

    The amount of false comments made are staggering. I see many still drinking the “kool-aid” that raccoons are “just a pest”.

    Distemper, btw, is zero threat to humans. Otherwise, thank you for caring and helping this guy be put out of his misery. I highly doubt any attempt to save him was made, and he was suffering.

    For those others who remain intellectually in the dark ages, there is a recently updated page at HSUS on raccoons & public health. You’re poor perceptions of this species are based on myths – and an agenda to keep compassion away from wildlife animals so that cruel blood-sports may go on w/o interference from a caring, informed public.

  • Katherine M April 6, 2012 (4:58 am)

    For some more perception on mis-perceptions:

    The common PUPPY roundworm blinds over 500 children a YEAR. Compared to the raccoon roundworm, of which there are less than 30 cases EVER… knowledge is a powerful tool against biased fears.

    Eliminate urban wildlife animals that keep rodents and trash in check and we’ll quickly regret our foolishness. Distemper is CANINE and FELINE disease, not a wildlife disease. Please keep domestic animals healthy and current on shots. TNR of feral cats withOUT vaccinating is a bad idea.

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