MONTEREY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Police warned Monterey community members not to approach any animals acting strangely after officers discovered several cases of canine distemper over the past few days.

The Monterey Police Department said canine distemper impacts the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems in various wild animals.

According to authorities, the virus normally affects animals like raccoons, foxes, skunks, coyotes, and even domestic dogs, but it is not transmissible to humans.

Signs of canine distemper among wildlife can include the following, officials said:

  • Aimless wandering
  • Fearlessness
  • Aggressiveness
  • Head tilt
  • Circling behavior

Police said these signs can be compared to “zombie like” movements.

According to the department, wild animals will rarely, if ever, approach humans, so “if a normally wild animal approaches you or is walking circles in your yard mid day….please do not approach it and try to pet it, yes we have seen people trying to get their kids to pet infected animals.”

Authorities said the virus can be transmitted through urine, saliva, feces, and other infected animal secretions, with younger animals being more susceptible.

In order to protect your dogs from canine distemper, you are encouraged to make sure they are fully vaccinated and not coming in contact with possibly infected wildlife.

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“So please, do not bother or approach animals suspected of being infected and report any wildlife that appears to have this ‘zombie like’ virus,” the Monterey Police Department summarized.