Local News

Raccoons test positive for rabies in Cumberland County

Posted August 24, 2011 6:35 p.m. EDT
Updated August 25, 2011 9:18 a.m. EDT

— Cumberland County Animal Control officers said two raccoon picked up Tuesday have tested positive for rabies.

Before they knew the animal was dangerous, the Koonce family treated one of the raccoons like a pet at their home on Rollinghill Road off of Colgate Drive in the Briarwood Hills subdivision.

"It acted like somebody's pet. It would follow you, would play with you," Bill Koonce said. 

The family even made a bed for the animal in the garage.

The lack of fear the raccoon showed humans worried Stacey Koonce, so she contacted animal control to pick it up. She said there were a string of calls made before animal control picked up the raccoon the next morning. 

The animal never attacked the family, but each must undergo shots in case they were infected. 

Stacey Koonce said she plans to use bleach to clean the family's garage. 

"For a 24-hour pet, it is a lot of clean up," she said. 

Animal control said there was a delay because officers did not realize the raccoon was thought to be rabid. 

The other raccoon was picked up from Oakcrest Drive off of Pamalee Drive in the Lake Crest subdivision.

Cumberland County said there have been 14 cases of rabies in the county this year.

Residents in the area should remain alert for animals that appear sick or act abnormally.They should also make sure their pets are vaccinated. Any pet that has been in a fight outside should be handled cautiously and taken to a veterinarian.

Any person bitten or scratched by an animal should immediately wash the wound under running water for at least 10 minutes, seek medical attention and advice or go to the emergency room.

Anyone who sees a possibly rabid animal is asked to notify Cumberland County Animal Services by calling 910-321-6852 Monday through Friday or the sheriff’s office at 919-323-1500 after hours and on weekends and holidays.