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Officials plan to vaccinate raccoons in Pittsburgh neighborhoods

Emily Balser
308859Raccoon

Officials are planning to trap, vaccinate and release healthy raccoons in Pittsburgh’s Morningside and Stanton Heights neighborhoods after three rabid raccoons were recently found.

The project will be done by the Wildlife Services Division of the United States Department of Agriculture. Wildlife Services will be seeking permission from property owners to use cage traps on private, public and commercial properties.

When an unhealthy animal is captured, it will be euthanized for rabies testing. Wildlife Services will re-evaluate its strategy if additional cases are found.

The Allegheny County Health Department reminds all county residents to always avoid stray and wild animals, even if they appear healthy.

Ryan Scarpino, a county health department spokesman, said he was unsure how many traps would be placed.

If an animal appears to be acting strange or becomes threatening, residents are advised to immediately notify their local animal control service, the police or the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Residents should also make sure their pets are up-to-date with vaccinations.

Rabies is a virus transmitted by an animal bite or scratch, and exposures due to a bite or scratch are almost always fatal when left untreated.

Anyone who is bitten, scratched or exposed to saliva from a stray or any other animal is advised to immediately clean the area with soap and water, seek emergency medical treatment and call the Allegheny County Health Department at 412-687-2243 to report the incident.

Anyone with questions on the trappings and vaccinations can contact Wildlife Services at 724-238-7320.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter @emilybalser.

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