Warwick Valley Humane Society reports dog quarantined after fight with raccoon
Not all raccoons carry rabies but they are one of the most common carriers of the disease in the United States.
WARWICK — This past summer Suzyn Barron, president of the Warwick Valley Humane Society, reported that a raccoon in Warwick had been tested positive for rabies. She warned that all pet owners should keep their pets, their dogs, cats and ferrets, up to date on rabies vaccinations available at local veterinary hospitals and clinics. However, just a short time ago, Barron reported that a small dog in Greenwood Lake, not up to date on its rabies vaccination, had been in a somewhat bloody fight with a raccoon. The raccoon was quickly found and dispatched by the police. And then it was removed and buried by the Greenwood Lake Department of Public Works. The animal control officer at the Town of Warwick animal shelter advised that the owner of the dog take it to a veterinarian for a possible rabies booster vaccination. Not all raccoons carry rabies but they are one of the most common carriers of the disease in the United States. The early signs of rabies in raccoons and other wild animals are acting disoriented, seeming partially paralyzed or sick, walking unsteadily or moving without apparent purpose. But since this dog was not up to date on its rabies vaccination, the Orange County Health Department ordered a modified six-month quarantine. The modified quarantine is that the dog must be on a leash at all times when not in the house and if there is a fenced in yard, the dog must be under the immediate supervision of an adult in the home and not left on its own in the fenced in yard. And the dog cannot be left alone, unsupervised, with children or any pets that have not been vaccinated. All dogs, cats and ferrets are required to have current rabies vaccinations and all dogs must be licensed in the Town where they reside. Florida, Pine Island and Greenwood Lake residents must license at the Warwick Town Hall with proof of current rabies vaccination. And there are several rabies vaccination clinics available such as The Animal Rights Alliance (T.A.R.A.) in Middletown on Thursdays and Chester Tractor Supply on weekends (call for dates). The Orange County Health Department also offers free rabies vaccinations throughout the year. . "Even cats and ferrets, who remain indoors and never go outside," said Barron, "can be exposed to rabies if an animal like a raccoon or a bat manages to get into the house. And if your pet gets into a fight with a wild animal, you should always wear gloves and other protective clothing when helping it. It's important to avoid contact with the saliva of a potentially infected animal." Barron also added that more than ordinary pets are involved including domestic livestock. "We had a recent bite report on a horse," she said. "An out of town apple picker was bitten by a horse in the chest. And the horse was not current on its rabies vaccination so it was put on a 10-day watch. Should the horse become sick, the person, who was bit, must get post exposure rabies vaccines." Domestic livestock, susceptible to rabies, includes cattle, goats, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep and swine. For additional information call the Warwick Valley Humane Society at 986-2473 or www.wvhumane.org. - Roger Gavan