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Rabid raccoons found

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Published on: Thursday, July 25, 2013

By Donna Broadway

GAITHERSBURG- in less than a month, the bodies of two rabid raccoons have been found in the East Deer Park neighborhood in Gaithersburg. The first incident occurred on June 27 after a raccoon, who later tested positive for rabies, got into a fight with two dogs. The second incident occurred on July 16, after a resident reported a sick raccoon in their backyard.

The dogs involved in the June 27 did not receive life threatening injuries.

The protocol for animals that have come in contact with a rabid animal is to have an increase in rabies vaccinations and the animals are placed on a 45 day observation period for any signs of infection.

Amy McGuire, Gaithersburg public information officer, said the raccoon found on July 16 did not have contact with humans or animals.

Lisa Hollen, of the City of Gaithersburg Department of Animal Control, said citizens should not be concerned about the rabid raccoons and that rabid animals are not rare in Montgomery County. In fact, she estimates between there are 40-50 rabid animals reported in the county every year. Hollen estimates between two and four rabid animals are reported in Gaithersburg every year.

“You need to be aware of your surroundings and if you see a raccoon, fox, or any type of wild animal that is acting injured, sick, aggressive, you need to call animal control to come have it checked it out,” said Hollen.

Hollen suggests making sure all pets are current on rabies vaccination. The Montgomery County Animal Shelter will be holding a rabies clinic on July 21 from 10a.m.-12p.m. at 14645 Rothgeb Drive Rockville, MD 20850. While there is no fee for the rabies vaccination, pet owners are required to purchase a city license at the clinic, which is mandatory for all domesticated pets in Montgomery County. Licenses are $10 for neutered and spayed pets, $5 for senior citizens 55 and older and those receiving public assistance. Licenses for unaltered pets are $35 with no discount.

Hollen reminds residents that rabies can be fatal to humans or animals, if they are exposed and do not receive treatment. Anyone in direct contact with a raccoon in the East Deer Park area of Gaithersburg in the last several weeks is asked to contact Montgomery County Health Department immediately at 240-777-1755.  Anyone suspecting their pet of having any contact with a raccoon in the last several weeks is also advised to contact Gaithersburg Animal Control at 301-258-6343

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