One Denver woman and 20 of her friends and family just got a lesson in wildlife management. It’s a lesson pretty much every animal rescuer learns at some point or another – rescuing animals comes with risks.
Every rescuer has bite marks, scratches or a story about a time a rescue went sideways.
This Denver resident just lived her own rescue adventure – and she’s willing to share it with you.
Gather ’round kids!
The story starts like so many other animal rescue stories when the Denver woman found an abandoned baby animal. In this case, the animal was an adorable baby raccoon.
The woman brought the animal inside after realizing mom wasn’t coming back. She figured she would just keep the little fluff-nugget safe until she could get it to the animal shelter.
The animal shelter ended up being full, but they instructed her to contact animal control. She did and they agreed to come out.
So far so good, right?
Well, that took two seconds to read but quite a while to happen in real time – and as with all good stories, it’s what happens away from the main storyline that makes things interesting.
While she was trying to coordinate things, word got out that she had a baby raccoon in her house. Her friends came to see it in droves.
Can’t blame them, honestly. Have you ever seen a baby raccoon?
The cute is irresistible. Look at its little yawn!
By the time animal control got there, a whopping twenty of the well-meaning rescuer’s friends and family had popped by to see the baby raccoon. Every animal professional just threw their hands in the air going,
And they’re right – the animal should have been quarantined – but this woman wasn’t a professional with that knowledge. She was just trying to save the fuzzy baby bandit.
Unfortunately, quarantine is designed for just situations like this. While an animal may not be visibly ill, it may actually be quite contagious.
A total of 21 people needed to be treated for rabies exposure after the little guy tested positive for the disease. Sometimes there is a not so good reason why a baby animal is all alone.
It ended up being the largest human rabies exposure case the county had ever seen.
They’re hoping that the case doesn’t give raccoons a bad name, though. The animals are normally healthy, harmless and (in their natural environments) necessary little bandits.
Raccoons thrive in urban environments and are comfortable living side by side with people.
Even in bigger cities, the little guys function like they do in the wild – helping to keep things clean, spread seeds and just be the trash pandas we know and love.
It’s true that some raccoons make great pets. But wild raccoons are best left exactly where they are – in the wild.
If you come across a baby raccoon that seems abandoned, just leave it. Mom is typically out foraging for food and will be back.
Check back on the little one in a few hours and at different times over the next day or two. If mom still isn’t back, contact your local animal rescuers.
DO NOT BRING ANY RESCUE ANIMAL INSIDE WITH YOUR FAMILY/PETS UNTIL IT HAS BEEN TESTED AND YOU CAN CONFIRM IT IS FREE OF DISEASE.
H/T: Live Science