The Niagara County Department of Health (NCDOH) confirmed a rabid raccoon on Corwin Avenue, Town of Newfane on May 26, 2021. This is the third confirmed rabid raccoon in the Town of Newfane this spring. A dog had potential contact with the raccoon, and the dog’s caretaker killed the raccoon. NCDOH submitted the animal for testing to NYSDOH Wadsworth Center, Griffin Laboratory. The dog did not have up-to-date rabies vaccinations. The dog will receive a booster shot and must quarantine for 6 months, in addition to receiving monthly health checks from NCDOH during this period. Bats, raccoons, skunks, and fox are all common wildlife carriers of the rabies virus. It is possible that a rabid animal can shed (share) the virus by direct contact before symptoms appear visible. A rabid animal can only be confirmed by submitting a laboratory sample.
Animal rabies continues to be a serious public health concern in Niagara County. Rabies is a viral disease that nearly always results in death of the animal that is not adequately protected with a rabies vaccination.
The Niagara County Department of Health would like to remind County residents of the following precautions to prevent exposure to rabies from wildlife and domestic animals:
- Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs, or feral cats.
- Be sure your dogs and cats are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and humans. Protect pets with rabies vaccination to reduce your risk of exposure to rabies. Dogs and cats that receive their first rabies vaccine are protected for a one-year period. A dog or cat’s second and subsequent vaccination will protect from rabies for up to three years. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors. By law, all cats, dogs, and ferrets must have current rabies vaccinations from four months of age and on. The Niagara County Department of Health conducts free rabies clinics, and will post those dates on our website once all arrangements are confirmed.
- Keep family pets indoors at night. Do not leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.
- Don’t attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods which may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cover, or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens.
- Encourage children to immediately tell adults if they are bitten by any animals. Tell children not to touch any animals they do not know.
- If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors and alert neighbors that are outside. You may contact a nuisance wildlife control officer who will remove the animal for a fee; or if there is danger, you can call your local law enforcement agency.
- If your pet has been in a fight with another animal, wear gloves to handle it. Isolate it from other animals and people for several hours. Call your veterinarian. Your vaccinated pet will need a booster dose of rabies vaccine within five days of the exposure. Unvaccinated animals exposed to a known or suspected rabid animal must be confined for six months or humanely euthanized.
Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to the Niagara County Department of Health Environmental Division at 439-7444. Further information on rabies can be obtained from the Niagara County Department of Health at 439-7444 or www.niagaracounty.com/health.