News Releases

Confirmed Rabies Case in Cumberland County Kitten

Jul 25, 2018

This morning the State Public Health Lab in Raleigh confirmed a case of rabies in the 3300 block of Legion Road in Hope Mills. On Tuesday, July 24, Animal Control received a call from a local veterinary hospital in Cumberland County about a kitten displaying rabies symptoms. Animal Control picked up the kitten and sent it to the State lab for testing. 

The stray kitten was found injured in a church parking lot at the end of June and was taken to a local animal hospital for treatment by a Cumberland County family. A month later the kitten started behaving differently and the family sought immediate veterinary care. Seven people have been exposed to the rabid kitten. The family of six that has been caring for the kitten is now seeking medical attention and has started post exposure treatment, along with one doctor who was scratched by the kitten while providing medical care.

This is the first case of rabies in the county in 2018.

All pet owners are urged to check the vaccination status of their pets.  If pets are not vaccinated or are due for a booster shot, they should be taken to a local veterinarian for rabies vaccination immediately.

The first sign of rabies in animals is a change in behavior. 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 keeping 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 very cautiously 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/advice.
  • Call Animal Control at 321-6852 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.Call the Sheriff’s Office at 323-1500 after 5 p.m., weekends and holidays.
  • Go to the emergency room.

It is also important to vaccinate your pets for rabies and keep their shots current. Pet owners are reminded that all dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies, as required by state law. Pet owners are subject to a fine of $100 for each unvaccinated dog or cat. Pets must be vaccinated when they reach the age of four months.