The recent exposure of more than 40 North Carolina residents to an ill raccoon underscores the need for licensed and qualified wildlife rehabilitators to be allowed to handle rabies vector species in North Carolina. For years The Humane Society of the United States has been urging the North Carolina Wildlife Commission to change its policies prohibiting the rehabilitation of raccoons.
The individuals had contact with this raccoon after a family in Waynesville took the orphan home to save it from starving to death. Placing such animals with trained wildlife rehabilitators protects the public and keeps costly incidents such as this from occurring.
“North Carolina is one of the only states on the eastern seaboard that refuses to allow wildlife rehabilitators to care for baby raccoons. Other states allow it, knowing that the public will take these starving, crying animals into their own homes if there’s no other humane option. The state’s advice to simply kill the animals or let them die is unacceptable to people, and that’s why this prohibitive policy actually creates a public safety risk,” said Laura Simon, field director of urban wildlife at The HSUS. “Hopefully this incident will help the state realize that it’s time to change their prohibition and provide a better place for the public to turn when they find orphaned baby raccoons. Wildlife rehabilitators are ready and waiting to provide the safety net.”
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