Toronto animal services captures raccoon after man chased and bitten

Toronto police and the city's animal services department say multiple raccoons have been rounded up by officers, amid what they believe is a viral outbreak among animals that could be carrying a rabies-like infection.

Const. David Hopkinson, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said on Sunday that police received a call about an animal complaint near St. Clair Avenue East and Danforth Road shortly after 10:15 a.m.

The man who was bitten believed the raccoon was rabid, and animal services was called.

In another tweet, police said there is a virus spreading in the south end of the city and advised the community to be cautious.

Robbinson declined to comment on whether the raccoon was rabid and would not confirm whether animal services officers have picked up "numerous" raccoons over the last few days.

Ware said that raccoons that have distemper are always euthanized, as it's a fatal infection that causes a painful death for the animal.

While there haven't been any cases of rabies in Toronto, the Hamilton area has seen a steady increase in rabies cases among various animals in the past three years.

Ware said Toronto Animal Services routinely tests dead raccoons for rabies and no recent tests have come back positive.

She also said she had spoken with the on-call manager for Toronto Animal Services, and that "there has been no confirmation of a bite", adding that if people see sick or injured wildlife they should call 311. As well, the representative asserted that the raccoon was likely to be infected with canine distemper (CDV), a virus that is harmless to humans but can effect dogs. They may behave aggressively is they are sick, disturbed from their den, are being protective or feel threatened.

Robbinson said despite reports to police, "raccoon distemper is not on the rise".

Canine distemper is a virus that is present in the raccoon population but generally at low levels. They may act disoriented or lethargic, but can become aggressive if cornered and they could have seizures.

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