HARTLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Niagara County Health Department reports officials have identified the first rabid animal in the county this year.
A raccoon found on Stone Road in the Town of Hartland tested positive for rabies. The raccoon had fought with two dogs, which killed it.
Health officials say rabies season begins when the weather turns warmer, and has these tips for residents:
1. Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or feral cats.
2. Be sure your dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and man, reducing the risk of human exposure to rabies. Dogs and cats that receive rabies vaccine after three months of age are protected for one year. Revaccinations are effective for up to three years. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors. The Niagara County Department of Health will conduct the next free rabies clinic on April 12, 2014 at the Town of Somerset Highway Garage, 8700 Haight Road, in the Town of Somerset from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. On June 14, Niagara County will hold another rabies clinic from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Hyde Park Oasis- Centennial Pavilion, 911 Robbins Drive, Niagara Falls.
3. Keep family pets indoors at night. Don’t leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.
4. Don’t attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods which may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cover, or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens.
5. Encourage children to immediately tell adults if they are bitten by any animals. Tell children not to touch any animals they do not know.
6. Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to the Niagara County Department of Health at 439-7444 or 439-7430 after hours.
7. If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors and alert neighbors that are outside. You may contact a nuisance wildlife control officer who will remove the animal for a fee or if there is danger, or you can call your local law enforcement agency.
8. If your pet has been in a fight with another animal, wear gloves to handle it. Isolate it from other animals and people for several hours. Call your veterinarian. Your vaccinated pet will need a booster dose of rabies vaccine within five days of the exposure. Unvaccinated animals exposed to a known or suspected rabid animal must be confined for six months or humanely destroyed.