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Protect wild animals by leaving them alone

Posted on 04/26/2019
Baby foxes

Weld County – It’s spring and animals are having babies. As cute and furry as some wild animals seem, they may carry diseases without appearing sick. These diseases can be life threatening to humans and pets.

“If you see a baby raccoon or fox that appears to have lost its mother, your first reaction is to pick it up and help it,” said Deb Adamson, Environmental Health Division Director at the Weld County Health Department. “By touching, feeding, or rescuing a wild animal, you may do more harm than good.”

Often, the animal is euthanized to test it for diseases and potential exposure to humans. The best chance a wild animal baby has for survival is to be raised by its own parent in its natural habitat.

The other issue is animal-borne diseases.

“Wild animals can carry a variety of diseases, such as rabies, which can be fatal,” Adamson said.

To protect humans, pets, and wildlife, health officials recommend the following:

• Do not feed wild animals.
• Leave orphaned animals alone. Baby animals often appear to be orphaned when they are not. The parent animal may not return if people are too close.
• Always wash your hands and the hands of children with running water and soap after working or playing outside, especially in areas where wild animals are present.
• Keep wild animals free; it’s illegal in Colorado to have a wild animal as a pet.
• Keep your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date.

If you do find a wild animal that appears to be sick, injured or orphaned, contact your local animal control officer or a local veterinary office before attempting to move it. For additional information, call:

• Weld County Regional Communications (Dispatch): (970) 350-9600
• Colorado Parks and Wildlife (Fort Collins office): (970) 472-4300
• Weld County Health Department, Environmental Health Division: (970) 304-6415