Fayetteville, N.C. — Cumberland County and state officials are investigating a possible case of rabies in Fayetteville involving a dead raccoon found behind Family Dollar on Andrews Road on Wednesday.
The raccoon appeared to have been dead for approximately two days. Tests for rabies were inconclusive, but authorities are treating it as a positive rabies case.
A caller notified Animal Control that feral cats in the area were eating the dead raccoon, authorities said. Traps have been set to try to catch the cats.
Residents in the vicinity should remain alert for sick or abnormal acting wildlife. All pet owners are urged 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.
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, and pets must be vaccinated when they reach the age of 4 months.
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.
- Call Animal Control at 321-6852 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call the Sheriff’s Office at 323-1500 after 5 p.m., weekends and holidays.
- Go to the emergency room.