|Rabid raccoon killed in Little Falls
A rabid raccoon was killed on Furnace Street in City of Little Falls on 6/26/2009. The animal control officer and police killed the raccoon and contacted Public Health to report the attack. The control officer carefully avoided any contact with the dead raccoon, as he double bagged the animal, using a shovel to move the dead raccoon into the bags. The specimen was prepared and sent to the State Laboratory, where rabies was diagnosed. There was no human or animal contact and pet dogs at the residence were up-to-date on rabies vaccination.
Sadly, another unvaccinated dog in Little Falls had to be euthanized recently after a rabid skunk attacked it. Under NY State law, dogs must be vaccinated against rabies and licensed. The City of Little Falls currently licenses 238 dogs, and the owner must present proof of rabies vaccination not only to license and to protect the life of his pet animal.
During 2009 Herkimer County Public Health will provide eleven free rabies clinics (donations are greatly appreciated). Five clinics have already occurred, the dates of subsequent six Rabies clinics are East Herkimer August 6th, Frankfort September 10th, Old Forge September 24th, Cedarville October 1st, Dolgeville October 22nd, and East Herkimer November 7th. Please see the e-schedule at www.herkimercounty.org. Veterinarians in Herkimer County have supplies of rabies vaccine at all times to provide proof of vaccination for licensure.
During 2009, Herkimer County Public Health has diagnosed rabies in a raccoon and a skunk in Little Falls, the red fox in Middleville, a raccoon in Richfield Springs, and bats in East Herkimer and Ilion. Many humans have already needed treatment for possible infection. Untreated human rabies infection is usually fatal, so extreme caution and care is necessary for possible bite victims. If you are bitten, scratched or have contact with any animal that might be rabid, immediately wash the wound with water and soap, and seek emergency medical attention at any hour of the day or night. Be certain that the medical provider reports the incident to Herkimer County Public Health at 315-867-1176.
Strict laws of New York State hold owners responsible for keeping dogs, cats and ferrets up-to-date in their rabies vaccination, and assign them responsibility for confinement of any unvaccinated pet at the owner’s expense. Animals kept or fed by a homeowner are the responsibility of the homeowner. Residents must check and be sure that all their animals are up-to-date with their rabies vaccinations.
Dogs, cats and ferrets three months or older must be vaccinated, even if they stay indoors. Every dog and cat needs two rabies vaccinations one year apart, and then every three years needs revaccination. A certificate of vaccination allows licensure of a pet.
All Herkimer County residents should be very careful around any wild animals, but also stray animals, including stray domestic animals such as dogs and cats. Bats remain an important rabies carrier and should be avoided. Parents must protect their children from any contact with wild animals or bats. Do not handle pets with bare hands (use thick gloves) if the pets have had contact with a possible rabid animal, and seek veterinary examination for the pet.
Herkimer County Public Health is available for assistance, advice, and testing of animals. Please call 315-867-1176 at all hours. Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekdays.