Raccoon Found In Somerset Tested Positive For Rabies


Photo: Darkone

County health officials are warning residents to be cautious after a rabid raccoon was found in the township.

The raccoon was captured on Sept. 19 in the area of Hamilton Street/Amwell Road, according to a press release from the Somerset County Department of Health.

The raccoon, which appeared to be sick, had come in contact with a dog in that area, according to the release. The raccoon was taken to the state Department of Health, where tests confirmed it had rabies.

The dog was up-to-date on its rabies shots, but received a booster and is in 45-day confinement at the Franklin Township Animal Shelter, according to the release.

Franklin Township residents who see an animal acting strangely should call the Franklin Township Animal Shelter at (732) 873-2500, ext. 6255, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-2300, evenings and weekends.

“Pet owners should maintain a close watch over their pets – dogs, cats and other animals – to ensure that they do not come in contact with stray or wild animals when outdoors,” Somerset County Health Officer Dr. Paul Masaba said in the release. “Pets should not be permitted to roam outdoors. However, if a pet has been outdoors unattended and is exhibiting unusual behavior, a veterinarian should be contacted.”

Health officials said unknown animals should dnot be handled or fed, and wild or feral animals should dnot be brought into homes, according to the release.

Rabies can be fatal to humans. Anyone who is bitten or scratched by a wild or stray animal, including stray dogs and cats, should promptly wash the area with soap and water and seek medical attention, according to the release. If a pet is bitten or scratched, take it to a vet promptly.

Throughout the year, Franklin Township sponsors several free rabies clinics for township cats and dogs. The next rabies clinic for dogs will be held Dec. 12 at the Franklin Township Animal Shelter, located at 475 Demott Lane in Somerset.

For further information on rabies, visit the New Jersey Department of Health website at www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/faq/rabies_faq.pdf.

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