November 1, 2012

Another rabid skunk confirmed in Keeseville


---- — PLATTSBURGH — A second skunk has tested positive for rabies in the Village of Keeseville, local health officials said Wednesday.

Rita Mitchell, principal sanitarian at the Clinton County Health Department, said this makes three wild animals testing positive in Clinton County during the last few weeks, since a skunk and raccoon had earlier been confirmed as having the fatal disease.

These wild animals, along with several in Essex County, have raised the concern among public-health officials for the safety of residents.

“Residents in the Village of Keeseville on both sides of the Ausable River need to stay vigilant as this disease continues in wildlife like raccoons and skunks,” Mitchell said in the release. “These types of animals live in our community, which increases the likelihood of our children and pets having contact with them.”

The Health Department advises:

▶ Talk to children about not approaching wildlife and to immediately tell a parent or adult if they see a wild animal.

▶ Do not feed wildlife or stray animals and discourage them from seeking food near your home.

▶ Have family pets vaccinated against rabies immediately. New York state law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age. Vaccination is also recommended for livestock with frequent human contact.

▶ If family pets have had their rabies vaccination lapse, get them a rabies booster immediately.

▶ Spay and neuter pets to decrease undesirable behavior, like aggression and roaming, and reduce the number of unwanted animals that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.

▶ Secure all garbage in containers that have a lid or locking system.

▶ Feed your pets indoors. Leaving food outside can attract stray dogs, cats and wildlife to your yard.

▶ Ensure wildlife can’t make a winter den or nest under house porches, foundations or outside storage sheds or garages.

▶ Use extreme caution around all wild animals, especially skunks and raccoons. Report any sick or strange-acting wildlife to the proper authorities.

▶ Report all animal bites and contact with bats to the local health department.

▶ To prevent the possible spread of the rabies virus, no one, including trappers and nuisance wildlife rehabilitators, should transport or relocate any wild animals at this time.

▶ Puppies and other small pets should not be left outside alone, even in a fenced area. If an unvaccinated pet comes in contact with a rabid or suspected rabid animal, it must be quarantined for six months or euthanized. Vaccinated pets that come in contact with a suspected rabid animal must be given a booster vaccination within five days.

For more information, contact the Clinton County Health Department at 565-4870; Essex County, 873-3500; or Franlin County, 481-1709.