For Immediate Release

February 20, 2002

Cumberland County Animal Control
Responds to County's 1st Confirmed
Rabies Case of the Year

Cumberland County Animal Control received official notification today that a suspected rabid raccoon has, in fact, tested positive for rabies.

The raccoon was found dead in the Rivercliff subdivision off Ramsey Street in Cumberland County. Apparently, the raccoon had been in a fight with a pit bull. It is believed that the pit bull killed the raccoon. The pit bull's owner discovered the dead raccoon and contacted Animal Control.

Animal Control officials sent the raccoon to the State Laboratory of Public Health in Raleigh for testing. The results indicate the raccoon was rabid. This is Cumberland County's first case of rabies this year.

The pit bull has since been quarantined. According to its owner, the dog was not currently immunized against rabies. Therefore, the dog will have to be quarantined for six months at the owner's expense or will have to be put to sleep in order to limit the possible exposure of rabies to humans and or other animals.

NC State Law requires all dogs and cats to keep the vaccination records current. Pet owners who fail to have their dogs and cats vaccinated are subject to be fined $100 for each unvaccinated animal.

According to Sgt. Jonny Smith of the Animal Control Office, the confirmed case of rabies should serve as a warning to pet owners to remember to have their pets vaccinated. "Vaccinated pets help provide a buffer between rabid wildlife and humans," says Sgt. Smith.

Animal Control officials spent the morning going door to door in the subdivision informing people of the rabies case and passing out general information on rabies. An Animal Control Officer will be stationed at the entrance of Rivercliff this afternoon passing out brochures to residents returning home from work.

For more information, you may contact Sgt. Jonny Smith at the Cumberland County Animal Control Office at 910-321-6852.

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