Pet owners warned about rabid raccoons
By CHASE SQUIRES
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 12, 2001
County officials are warning residents to check their pets' rabies vaccination records in the wake of attacks by rabid raccoons.
Lynne Deddo, education coordinator for Pasco County Animal Control, said three attacks on dogs were reported during the last week in April. Two of the attacks were in Hudson, and one was reported near Zephyrhills.
In each case, the family pets had to be destroyed. Tests showed the dogs had been exposed to rabies.
"We need to raise awareness," Deddo said. "Pets need to be vaccinated every year. It's required by the county."
Deddo said all warm-blooded animals have the potential to carry rabies, although some are more susceptible than others.
The ongoing drought may be forcing wild animals to look for sources of water in populated areas, where they come into contact with pets, Deddo said.
Deddo said the dogs were attacked in the Parkwood Acres neighborhood and near Terrace Drive in Hudson and along Chancey Road near Zephyrhills.
Deddo warned that rabies can be passed from animals to humans, so pets must be vaccinated to protect the owners' health.
If a family pet is attacked by a wild animal, Deddo said, the owners should take the injured pet to a veterinarian immediately. A booster vaccination is available for injured pets, provided they were vaccinated within the past year.
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