8th and 9th case of rabies confirmed in Cumberland County - WNCN: News, Weather

8th and 9th case of rabies confirmed in Cumberland Co.

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Cumberland County has now confirmed nine cases of rabies in the county this year. In 2012, six cases of rabies were reported in the entire 12-month period.

On Saturday, July 13, three dogs in the Stedman-Cedar Creek Road and Highway 210 crossroads area came in contact with a raccoon. The dogs' owner said that her three dogs were fighting with the raccoon. Animal Control picked up the raccoon and sent it to the lab for testing. Two of the three dogs were not vaccinated. Therefore, the owner will be required according to North Carolina law to quarantine the dogs for six months at a veterinarian clinic.

On Monday, July 15, Animal Control picked up a dead raccoon from Butler Nursery Road in the Gray's Creek area. Robert Hunt said the raccoon was attacking his cat. Hunt said he distracted the raccoon and the animal started toward him in an aggressive manner. Hunt then shot and killed the raccoon. The cat is an outdoor cat and had not been found. The cat is still loose after it was exposed to rabies.

Animal Control officers left flyers for people living nearby – warning them about the confirmed cases of rabies.

Dr. John Lauby, the director of Cumberland County's animal control said the cat is a threat to anyone who may come in close proximity to the pet. He said the cat, which is large and gray, should be avoided.

Lauby urges all pet owners to check the vaccination status of their pets.  If pets are not vaccinated or are due for a booster shot, they should be taken to a local veterinarian for rabies vaccination immediately Lauby said.

The first sign of rabies in animals is a change in behavior. Animals may become aggressive, attacking for no reason, or they may become very quiet. Wild animals can lose their fear of people and act tame. Rabid animals may walk in a circle, drag a leg, or fall over. Some cannot swallow so they are not able to eat or drink and often drool. Animals usually die within a week after first becoming ill.

Avoiding wild animals and keeping your distance from stray dogs and cats is the first step in preventing an animal bite. Any pet, which appears to have been in a fight while outside, should be handled very cautiously and seen by a veterinarian.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal:

  • Immediately wash the wound under running water for at least 10 minutes with lots of soap. Seek medical attention/advice.
  • In Cumberland County, call Animal Control at 910-321-6852 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Call the Sheriff's Office at 910-323-1500 after 5 p.m., weekends and holidays.
  • Go to the emergency room.

Animal control reminds pet owners that all dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies, as required by state law. Pet owners are subject to a fine of $100 for each unvaccinated dog or cat. Pets must be vaccinated when they reach the age of four months.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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