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Rabid cat attack prompts alert in Indian River County

Posted at 9:37 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 05:36:45-04

A rabies alert was issued Tuesday in Indian River County. 

According to a news release, a stray cat tested positive for rabies after attacking an adult, who was working on a yard on May 13.

The cat is described as tricolor (browns), domestic and short-haired. 

Anyone who may have been scratched or bitten in the last two weeks by a cat meeting that description is asked to contact the Department of Health in Indian River immediately. 

The rabies alert is for 60 days and includes the following boundaries: 

•    South of State Route 60 also known as 20th Street
•    North of Oslo Road also known as 9th Street SW
•    East of 66th Avenue
•    West of US Highway 1

“We strongly advise residents not to approach or feed wild and stray animals, and keep their pets vaccinated,” said Miranda Hawker, Indian River County Health Officer.

Here are some tips to protect you and your pets from rabies:
•    Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and promptly report exposure to local animal control.
•    Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild or stray animals, including cats, by leaving pet food outside or garbage cans open. 
•    Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
•    Do not allow your pets to run free. Follow leash laws by keeping pets secured on your property.
•    If your pet is bitten by a wild, stray or unknown animal, seek veterinary assistance immediately and report the incident to your local animal control agency. (See contact information below).
•    Call your local animal control agency directly to remove any wild or stray animals from your neighborhood that are injured or demonstrate unusual behavior. 
•    Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Call animal control for assistance rather than trying to nurse injured or sick wild or stray animals.
•    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.
•    Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated. 
•    Local animal control agencies in Indian River County coordinate the exposure investigation with the Florida Department of Health in Indian River County. 

Animal Control Agency Contact Information:

  • Indian River County Animal Control: (772) 226-3486
  • City of Vero Beach Police Department: (772) 978-4600

For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website or contact Florida Department of Health in Indian River County at (772) 794-7440.

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