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Rabies alert issued after raccoon kept in cage

Posted at 1:40 PM, Aug 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-19 08:28:28-04

The health department in Niagara County is putting out a rabies warning after a resident captured a raccoon.

The State Department of Environmental Conservation was notified Wednesday that a resident on North Avenue in Niagara Falls had captured the animal and may have been handling it as a pet.

A health department representative went to the home on the 1100 block Wednesday to retrieve the animal but found the cage open and the raccoon gone.

Now health officials are reminding everyone about the real danger of catching rabies from raccoons.

Environmental Health Director Paul Dicky said, “Anyone who had direct contact with the raccoon is urged to contact the Niagara County DOH immediately. Raccoons are at risk of carrying and transmitting rabies, a fatal disease. Rabies disease is 100% preventable if caught early after exposure to the virus; therefore it is imperative to interview persons who had direct contact with the animal."

If you came in contact with the raccoon, call 716-439-7444.

The health department is offering free rabies vaccination clinics for dogs, cats and ferrets. The next clinic is Saturday, September 17 from 9-11am at the Town of Lockport Highway Department. Call 716-439-7444 for more information.