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Animal Services captures two rabid raccoons, urges public awareness

E-T staff report
City of Stephenville Animal Control

Stephenville Animal Services has received calls in recent weeks for two sick animals that have tested positive for rabies and is urging the public to be aware if they come across a potentially rabid animal.

On Friday, Jan. 15, Stephenville Animal Services was dispatched to the 1400 block of Inglewood Drive for a sick raccoon. The raccoon was located a short time later in the 300 block of Tanglewood Circle.

Stephenville Animal Services was dispatched for a second sick raccoon on Sunday, Jan. 17, in the 100 block of Blue Jay Drive.

Both animals were captured and submitted to the Texas Department of State Health Services for rabies testing, where both were found to be positive for the rabies virus.

"Stephenville Animal Services and the Texas Department of State Health Services is urging the public not to touch or handle wild animals, as some wild animals may be infected with rabies," reads a public notice on the City of Stephenville social media. "These include but are not limited to coyotes, bats, foxes, raccoons, skunk, or feral cats and dogs. Please note that while not all wild animals are rabid, rabid animals may not always appear sick."

Animal contact, such as bites or scratches from an infected animal, can lead to exposure to rabies. Infected animals can transmit the rabies virus prior to the onset of symptoms.

Vaccination of all cats and dogs is required by state law and is the first line of defense against human infection. Officials urge every cat and dog owner to have all of their animals vaccinated for rabies and to keep vaccinations up to date. Local veterinarians can provide more information about rabies vaccination.

Anyone who sees a wild animal in a location where a person or pet can reach it is asked to contact Stephenville Animal Services at (254) 918-1273. The city's animal services department operates seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.