Rabid raccoons found in Rensselaer County has residents on edge

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Neighbors are on edge after two separate reports of rabid raccoons in our region.

It was right here on Brunswick Road where Troy Animal Control say a raccoon attacked a dog and was later revealed to have rabies. Now Animal Control is warning the public.

“It’s life or death because you can’t come back from rabies. Once you got it, you got it,” Kevin McDonough, of Troy Animal Control, said.

McDonough has worked with Troy Animal Control for almost two decades. He knows first-hand how serious the rabies virus can be.

“It happens every year. Dogs aren’t vaccinated and they get into a tussle with a wild animal. Then that hit comes back positive for rabies and you have a problem.”

Just recently, two reports of raccoons tested positive for the virus. In one incident, in Troy, the raccoon attacked a dog.

The raccoon was caught and had to be put to sleep. For now, the dog is doing okay, but not all animals are as lucky.

“There’s no cure for rabies. They can only treat rabies. They can’t cure it.”

Now he’s warning the public to be careful. Make efforts to avoid attracting wild animals.

“Your garbage cans have to have lids on them,” McDonough said. “Your garbage has to be kept in with lids.”

That’s something Joan Schultz makes sure she does.

“We don’t leave anything that’s edible in the yard for animals to get in the yard,” Schultz said.

Her grandkids live here in Troy. She worries for them after hearing the news.

“Very scary. That’s lots of shots and it’s something they are very scared of.”

Even though her family makes the right efforts to not attract animals, she doesn’t think enough is done at public parks.

“More can be done. There’s a lot of trash everywhere. A lot of alleys have trash. A lot of people just litter. They throw garbage on the ground, they just don’t care.”

McDonough says if it does happen, you need to act as quickly as possible.

“Immediately go to the hospital. See if you can detain the animal and then go to the hospital ASAP.”

There are rabies clinics throughout the Capital Region. For more information on rabies prevention, including the schedule of rabies clinics for your pets, or what you should do if exposed to a potentially rabid animal, please contact the Rensselaer County Department of Health at (518)-270-2655.

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