April 18, 2014

Concern rises about rabid animals

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Essex County Public Health Department has received a number of reports this spring of possibly rabid wild animals moving about in communities.

“It is essential for pet owners to make sure their pets are up to date with their rabies vaccinations,” Linda Beers, Essex County Public Health director, said in a news release.  

“We have rabies clinics scheduled throughout Essex County for the whole year so people can plan, and we may add clinics if needed.”

The department recommends these prevention actions:   

• Make sure pets (dogs, cats, ferrets, etc.) and livestock (alpaca, goats, horses, cows, etc.) are up to date with their rabies vaccinations.

• Feed pets indoors, and don’t leave them outside unattended.

• Avoid contact with wild animals and stray or unknown cats and dogs.

• Tightly cap garbage cans and avoid attracting wild animals to a yard with birdseed or other food.

Rabies clinic dates and locations are on the Essex County Public Health website:

Cats, dogs and ferrets get vaccinations at no charge; a donation of $5 per pet is accepted.

If anyone sees a wild animal, especially a raccoon, skunk, fox or bat, stay away and keep children away, Beers said.

She said people should keep pets indoors and let the animal go away on its own. Residents can call a nuisance wildlife control officer, who may remove the animal for a fee.

Call the Essex County Public Health Department at 873-3500 to report a rabid-animal contact or with any questions.

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