A raccoon who bit two sheep is Niagara County's first confirmed rabid animal of 2019, the Niagara County Department of Health announced.
The raccoon was reported to have bitten two sheep on Ditch Road in Wolcottsville within the Town of Royalton. The owner then intervened and killed the raccoon, the health department said.
The animal was then submitted for rabies testing. Officials said the owner opted to euthanize the sheep upon hearing the rabies test was positive.
“Livestock are not routinely vaccinated against rabies, therefore animals exposed to the rabies virus must be put down or incur a six-month quarantine," according to Niagara County Associate Supervisory Sanitarian Scott Ecker, who said state law "requires mandatory rabies vaccination for all dogs, cats and ferrets."
The Niagara County Department of Health asks that all animal bites or contact with wild animals robbishould be reported to the Niagara County Department of Health Environmental Division at 439-7444 (or 439-7430 after hours).
The health department reminded residents to be sure that their dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.
The Niagara County Department of Health will conduct two free rabies clinics this summer:
- June 1 at the Hyde Park Pavilion, 911 Robbins Drive, Niagara Falls, from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. (phone: 286-4940)
- July 13 at the Royalton Highway Garage, 5316 Royalton Center, from 9 to 11 a.m. (phone: 772-2431)
The health department also reminded residents of further precautions to prevent exposure to rabies from wildlife and domestic animals:
- Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or feral cats.
- Keep family pets indoors at night.
- Don’t attract wild animals to your home or yard via stored bird seed or uncovered garbage cans.
- Encourage children to immediately tell adults if they are bitten by any animal.
- If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away.
- If your pet has been in a fight with another animal, wear gloves to handle it. Isolate it from other animals and people for several hours. Call your veterinarian. Your vaccinated pet will need a booster dose of rabies vaccine within five days of the exposure.
Further information on rabies can be obtained from the Niagara County Department of Health at 439-7444 or via niagaracounty.com.