Health Department: Dog kills rabid raccoon in Bethel Park
The Allegheny County Health Department is warning South Hills residents to be on the lookout for rabid animals after a dog in Bethel Park killed a raccoon that later tested positive for rabies.
The dog, which was up-to-date on its rabies vaccines and should be safe from infection, killed the rabid raccoon in the 5500 block of Florida Avenue in Bethel Park, according to a news release from the health department. The raccoon’s remains were submitted to the health department for testing.
“All residents should avoid any kind of contact with wild or stray animals, especially those in the Bethel Park area where the rabid raccoon was located,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Health Department Director, in a statement. Anyone who encounters an animal acting strangely or aggressively should contact their local animal control, police or the Pennsylvania Game Commission, she said.
The health department tries to vaccinate raccoons around the county against rabies to limit exposures such as this one. With the help of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the county placed more than 300,000 pieces of bait containing a rabies vaccine in raccoon habitats last August, including in many parks. Spokesman Ryan Scarpino said the baiting and vaccination would likely happen again in the summer.
Rabies can be spread by animal bites or scratches and can be fatal if left untreated.
Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @msantoni.