FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – The North Carolina Public Health Lab confirmed today a case of rabies in a raccoon in Odom Drive and Coventry Road off Ireland Drive in Fayetteville.
Cumberland County Animal Services responded to a call about an injured racoon who bit an individual while trying to move the animal from the roadway. The raccoon was sent to the lab in Raleigh for testing due to exposure to a person. Rabies was confirmed. This is the second case of rabies in the county since Jan. 1.
All pet owners need to check the vaccination status of their pets. Make an appointment with a veterinarian immediately if pets are not vaccinated for rabies or need a booster shot.
The first sign of rabies in animals is a behavior change. Animals may become aggressive, attacking for no reason, or they may become very quiet. Wild animals can lose their fear of people and act tame. Rabid animals may walk in a circle, drag a leg, or fall over. Some cannot swallow so they are not able to eat or drink and often drool. Animals usually die within a week after first becoming ill.
Avoiding wild animals and keep your distance from stray dogs and cats is the first step in preventing an animal bite. Any pet which appears to have been in a fight while outside should be handled with care and seen by a veterinarian.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal:
- Immediately wash the wound under running water for at least 10 minutes with lots of soap.
- Seek medical attention or advice from a medical practitioner.
- Go directly to the emergency room.
- Call Animal Services at 321-6852 Monday-Friday 9a.m. to 5:00p.m.
- Call Cumberland County Emergency Services 910-323-1141 after hours, weekends and holidays.
It is also important to vaccinate your pets for rabies and keep their shots current. North Carolina state law requires pet owners must vaccinate all dogs and cats against rabies. Pet owners are subject to a $100 fine for each unvaccinated dog or cat. Pets must be vaccinated when they reach the age of four months.
To learn more about Animal Services, call 910-321-6852 or go online to www.cumberlandcountync.gov/animal-Services or visit them on social media at facebook.com/CumberlandCountyAnimalShelter.