Rabies Warning

Be cautious of raccoons, feral cats, bats

The Putnam County Health Department has issued a warning to residents to be cautious about wildlife that might have rabies. In New York state, more than half of rabies infections in wild animals occur in raccoons, followed by bats, skunks and foxes.

So far this year, three raccoons in Putnam County have tested positive. Feral cats also can spread rabies, although the most common animal contact that leads to the two-week rabies treatment are bats, which should be caught if found inside the home to be tested (see putnamcountyny.com/how-to-capture-a-bat).

The county’s Feral Cat Task Force since 2012 has neutered and vaccinated 622 cats, and adopted or fostered another 128. Anyone invested in volunteering or making a donation should call the Health Department at 845-808-1390, ext. 43160.

Pet cats and dogs also can contract rabies and should be vaccinated. The next free vaccination clinic offered by the county will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on July 15 at Hubbard Lodge in Cold Spring.

All bites or contact with wild animals should be reported promptly to the Department of Health. On weekends and holidays, or after office hours, call the Environmental Health Hotline at 845-808-1390 and press 3.

One thought on “Rabies Warning

  1. Any of the cats vaccinated by the Feral Cat Task Force prior to June 2016 could potentially be rabid, as these cats are almost never re-trapped for the required one-year rabies booster vaccination. Cat are the leading domestic animal rabies carrier by far. There are many, many cases in the news, including the person in Florida who was bitten by a rabid trap-neuter-return cat just last week.