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Niagara officials looking for dog possibly exposed to rabies

LOCKPORT – A day after reporting a rabid feral cat attacked a woman in Wheatfield, the Niagara County Health Department sounded two more rabies alarms Wednesday.

The department is asking for the public’s help in finding a runaway dog in the Town of Lockport that may have been exposed to a rabid raccoon.

The dog, 1-year-old Bella, is described as “an Old Southern Catch Dog with pit bull-like features.” It is white with black eyes and lived in the 4000 block of Purdy Road.

Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton said the department was planning to quarantine the dog away from home for six months, in line with the regular regulations for unvaccinated pets exposed to rabies, but the dog’s owner told them this week that Bella ran away.

If the dog is found, it is to be given a rabies shot and quarantined. Stapleton said anyone who sees Bella should call the SPCA of Niagara at 731-4368 so a crew can be sent to capture her. Anyone with information on where to find the dog is asked to call the Health Department at 439-7444.

The other rabies case reported Wednesday was the county’s eighth confirmed rabid animal of the year: a raccoon that fought with two dogs on Rivershore Drive in Niagara Falls Sunday. The raccoon tested positive for rabies Monday.

Stapleton said the veterinarian who inspected the dead raccoon said it recently had given birth at an unknown location, which means there are orphaned rabid raccoon babies in the vicinity of Rivershore Drive.

“Seeing young animals often triggers emotions of concern and a desire to help,” Stapleton said. “Take a moment to think about the danger of rabies. If you see young wild animals, do not touch them. Move pets and children away from the site.”

A domestic animal that is exposed to rabies does not need be to be quarantined. It would be given a booster shot and checked for rabies 45 days later, Stapleton said.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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