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Diseased, ‘drunk’ raccoons appear in NC mountain towns

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HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. -- Hendersonville is the latest North Carolina mountain town to experience an influx of raccoons that show signs of a disease which causes them to appear drunk.

Sgt. Brandon McGaha told WLOS that his department has received a lot of calls about the raccoons during the last few weeks.

“They're coming out right in the middle of downtown. They're coming out in the day, which is really odd for a raccoon,” he said.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has already confirmed several cases of distemper in neighboring counties.

Biologist Justin McVey told WLOS that several of the raccoons were sent to a lab at the University of Georgia.

“They've had some confirmed cases of distemper in Haywood and Buncombe Counties. Based on the symptoms that the raccoons in our area are showing, they believe it's the same disease,” McGaha said.

The sick animals are likely to appear drunk, wobbly and very friendly, according to wildlife officials.

Law enforcement officers are asking people in the area not to touch or feed the animals and to contact them if they encounter one of the diseased raccoons.