By Jackie Nappo firstname.lastname@example.org
SOMERS — The town’s Animal Control Department says a raccoon that came into contact with a dog Sunday has tested positive for rabies.
An advisory issued by the department stressed the importance of pet owners ensuring that their animals are up-to-date on their rabies vaccines. It said rabies is typically spread through the bite of an infected animal.
“If your animal does come in contact with wildlife, be sure to wear long sleeve clothing and gloves while examining your pet for wounds,” officials said.
Town Sanitarian Steven Jacobs stressed the importance of vigilance by pet owners.
“Rabies is out there in the environment,” he said. “”It always has been.”
Jacobs said owners should always make sure they are with their pets when they’re outside, and that pets are controlled on a leash or obedient to commands.
To identify an animal that could have rabies, Jacobs said, be on the lookout for animals exhibiting aggressive or, in severe cases, “drunken” behavior. As for owners who let their animals outside without their supervision, he said, all they can do is “pray.”
“They are putting their pets at risk when they do that, not only for rabies but we have a very high coyote population in this part of the state so small pets — dogs or cats — they are high on the menu list for those predators,” he said.