Raccoon Suspected of Having Rabies Was Actually Just Drunk as Hell

By Catie Keck on at

Following recent reports that masked perpetrators were raising alarm in a town in the US state of West Virginia, police say they have reason to believe the troublemakers had just gotten wrecked.

The Milton Police Department reportedly received accounts of stumbling and disoriented raccoons at least twice in the last week, and locals worried the raccoons might have rabies. But those suspicions were wrong. One of the raccoons in question had reportedly gotten wasted by eating some fermented crab apples.

“Ptl Scarberry made his first apprehension today, taking this masked bandit into custody with assistance of Sgt Collins and several neighbourhood residents,” the Milton Police Department wrote in a Facebook post on Monday. “Ptl Withers caught one yesterday on Brickyard Ave with the help of the city street department. Today’s culprit was on Highland Ave and Mason Street and it was a community effort.”

However, speaking with Gizmodo by phone on Thursday, a representative for the Milton Police Department said it has now captured three raccoons and that two of them may have distemper. While all three raccoons were captured within 500 yards of each other, the department said that one of the first two raccoons was later discovered to be extremely ill and hadn’t moved more than several feet from where it was dropped off days before.

Asked for clarification about whether any of the raccoons were actually drunk on crab apples, the representative told Gizmodo they believe the first one police captured was. A city worker who did a check-up on that raccoon reported it was nowhere to be found, indicating to the department that it was healthy and just drunk at the time of its capture.

“It was up and mobile very quickly,” the representative said. “Sobered up, for lack of a better word.”

This seems as good a time as any to resurface the drunk raccoon of 2015—the one warehouse employees discovered tying one on before drunkenly stumbling away from a case full of beer. An icon, really.

More evidence of the animal kingdom’s proclivity for getting loaded is absolutely the palate cleanser we needed this week. [Washington Post]