Lawrence officials are asking area residents to be on the lookout for raccoons that display signs of lethargy or seem unusually docile or tame.
Area wildlife officials have determined the raccoons are not infected with rabies but are carrying an illness that can be spread to pets and other animals. City officials, who have received several calls about the raccoons, are advising pet owners to ensure their pets are up-to-date with their vaccinations.
Megan Gilliland, city spokeswoman, said the raccoons likely have contracted a strain of distemper, a respiratory illness fatal to animals that contract it.
Distemper, according to the city, cannot be transmitted from animals to humans. The city, however, is still recommending that Lawrence residents who come across an odd-acting raccoon contact the Police Department at 832-7509, and an animal control officer will be sent to the scene.
Gilliland said wildlife officials are speculating the mild winter may have increased the cases of distemper in the area’s raccoon population.