The Denville Township Animal Control Officer has reported a recent increase in positive rabies tests of sick raccoons. As such, all residents are urged to ensure that their family pets are currently immunized for rabies and not to approach wildlife, particularly if the animal appears to be sick or injured.
Raccoons are common carriers of rabies. Rabies is a potentially deadly disease caused by a virus found in the saliva of rabid animals. It can be transmitted by bites, sc...ratches, or possibly by the contaminated saliva coming in contact with any open cuts or with your eyes. Other common carriers of the virus are skunks, foxes, woodchucks, bats, and feral (stray) unvaccinated animals.
Once an animal becomes infected with rabies it may display aggressive behavior, may appear to be drunk or injured, and/or have trouble walking. Rabid animals may attempt to bite or attack people and/or domesticated animals. Other signs of rabies infection include disorientation, loss of appetite, excessive irritability, unusual vocalization, abnormal behavior, restlessness, jumping at noises, excessive salivation, tremors, convulsions, or paralysis. However, some rabid animals do not display any signs of the illness.
The Denville Township Animal Control Officer and the Denville Township Health Department recommend the following precautions to protect yourself and your family from possible exposure:
- Avoid direct contact with wild or stray animals.
- Do not feed or touch wild animals.
- Do not allow your cats or dogs to have contact with wild animals.
- Vaccinate your pets against rabies and keep vaccinations up-to-date.
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
- Do not feed wildlife and do not leave pet food outdoors for extended periods. Immediately clean-up any spills from exterior bird feeders.
- Ensure that garbage stored outdoors is inaccessible to wildlife. Use tight-fitting lids on garbage cans containing food waste and whenever possible, keep such garbage indoors until collection day.
- Report all injuries and bites to persons or domestic animals to the Denville Township Animal Control Officer and the Denville Township Health Department.
Residents are encouraged to be alert and to report any sick or injured animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, woodchucks, bats, and feral (stray) animals to the Denville Township Police Department at 973-627-4900.