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The war against the raccoon strain of rabies continues Monday, when fish-meal baits containing rabies vaccine will be dropped from aircraft into rural areas of the county where raccoons live.

Baits also will be distributed by hand in the more populated areas of Niagara County over the next two weeks.

Aircraft will take off starting at 8 a.m. at Niagara Falls International Airport, weather permitting, according to the Niagara County Health Department.

The public is asked not to disturb any of the baits and to keep pets confined or on leashes if baits have landed nearby. If a pet brings home or eats a bait, it won't be harmed, but owners are asked to call
1-888 715-7785 to report it, so officials will know that domestic animals are attracted to that bait type.

Up to 70 percent of adult raccoons tested since 1995 have eaten the baits, and the number of documented raccoon rabies cases has decreased significantly, according to county health officials.

Meanwhile, the last rabies immunization clinic of the season will be offered from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Cornell Cooperative Extension, 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport. Cats and dogs at least 4 months old will be vaccinated without charge.

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