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Another rabies incident reported

A raccoon that was killed by a dog tests positive. It is the fifth reported case involving a rabid animal in the county this year.

By MARY SPICUZZA
Published June 29, 2005


WEEKI WACHEE - Hernando County is not going to the dogs - but is it going to the raccoons? Another local raccoon tested positive for rabies this week, making it the second rabid raccoon to tangle with a dog this month.

The first dog-raccoon incident that occurred in June was in the Yontz Road area, north of Brooksville.

In the most recent rabies incident, which occurred on Friday, a dog attacked and killed a raccoon near Bethesda Court in the Weeki Wachee Gardens area, off Shoal Line Boulevard.

This was the fifth reported incident involving a rabid animal this year in Hernando County, which is currently on a county-wide rabies alert.

"It's relatively uncommon to have a countywide alert," Florida Department of Health spokeswoman Lindsay Hodges said.

Pasco County is not currently under any rabies alert, and Citrus County has only a partial alert after discovering a rabid fox.

"There's several rabies alerts out there," Hodges said.

Actually, Hernando has been under alert for years.

"We've been under a partial rabies alert since April 1999," Hernando Animal Services manager Liana Teague said.

Hernando County residents are urged to use caution to ward off rabies.

The Hernando County Health Department urges residents to vaccinate all dogs and cats 3 months and older, avoid all free-roaming animals, confine pets to the owner's premises and contact the Health Department if someone is bitten or scratched by an animal.

Rabies tends to be carried by nocturnal animals such as raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks. Rabbits, squirrels, hamsters, gerbils, rats and other rodents have not been known to cause rabies in Florida.

And officials say none of these wild animals should be fed, no matter how cute they may look.

Mary Spicuzza can be reached at mspicuzza@sptimes.com or 352 848-1432.

[Last modified June 29, 2005, 01:18:19]


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