Rabid raccoons attack dogs in West Palm Beach, Jupiter Farms, Tequesta

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Two raccoons that attacked dogs in West Palm Beach and Jupiter Farms last week were confirmed positive for rabies, the Florida Department of Health said in a news release Monday.

Officials said a third raccoon that attacked a dog near A1A in Tequesta over the weekend is presumed rabid.  There have been 16 confirmed rabid animals in the county this year. 

"These raccoons did not bite or expose any people.  However, in each case the raccoon was very aggressive toward the dogs and luckily did not turn on the pet's owners.  Everyone in the county should be aware that we have rabies in our wild animal population and contact should be avoided," said Florida Department of Health Palm Beach County Director Dr. Alina Alonso in a written statement. 

The dogs that were attacked had all been vaccinated against rabies, but as a precaution are being placed in home quarantine for 45 days. 

Health officials advise that all domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided. 

Advice for pet owners

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
  • Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Animal Care & Control at 561-233-1200.
  • Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
  • Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. 
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets.

Contact the Florida Health Palm Beach County 561-840-4500 for more details. Animals exhibiting signs of sickness and aggressive behavior should be reported to Animal Control at 561-233-1200.

Related Link: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/medicine/rabies/rabies-index.html

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