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Confirmed Rabies in Raccoon in Cumberland County

Sep 10, 2019

This afternoon the State Public Health Lab in Raleigh confirmed a positive case of rabies in a raccoon at the 5000 block of Parkton Road off N.C. Highway 59, Hope Mills.


On Monday, Sept. 9, Animal Control received a call to investigate an attack involving six dogs and a raccoon. Animal Control officers found the dead raccoon and sent it to Raleigh for rabies testing. The six dogs are now quarantined at the Cumberland County Animal Shelter. The owner, who stated the dogs have never been vaccinated against rabies, surrendered all six dogs to be euthanized.


“By state law, these dogs will have to be euthanized or quarantined at a veterinary hospital for four months, which costs thousands of dollars,” Animal Control Director Elaine Smith said. “The consequences of exposure to rabies are extremely serious. People need to take rabies seriously and get their pets vaccinated and make sure the vaccinations are up to date.”


This is the second case of rabies in Cumberland County in 2019. A rabid fox was confirmed in May.


There will be a Rabies Vaccination Clinic Oct. 5 at the Public Health Center, 1235 Ramsey St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost for vaccination is $10 per dog and cat.


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, attack for no reason or 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 to prevent 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 910-321-6852 Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call the Sheriff’s Office at 910-323-1500 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.