by Claire McKenna

This past week one of my friends awoke to an alarming sound. Three gunshots went off right outside her window. Panicking, she got up from her bed and crept to the front window to witness the crime occurring at 7:20 am in front of her house. To her amazement, she found a policeman that had just shot a raccoon three times. The police had given no warning to the neighbors and did not clean up the carcass of the dead animal.

When I heard this story I was utterly shocked. There was no way that a police officer could discharge their weapon three times into an innocent neighborhood animal. However, I soon learned of a condition that has affected many raccoons in Youngstown, Ohio that is terrifying.

The raccoons suffering from “distemper,” a disease which causes raccoons to lose their normal fear of humans. These “zombie raccoons” show their teeth and stand on their hind legs before tipping over onto their backs. The disease is viral and usually fatal for raccoons.

Hopefully, the now-deceased raccoon of Shaker Heights was put out of its suffering from distemper by the Shaker Heights Police Department.