Understanding signs of rabies from wildlife critical in taking action

RAVENA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s a video that has gone viral.  A local police department, attempted to run over a raccoon in a grocery store parking lot.

The DEC has now confirmed that the raccoon was rabid.

So, what should you do if you encounter an animal that could be dangerous?

Police say it was an attempt to protect shoppers, but many witnesses say they didn’t think the animal was a threat.

The question now is, how can you be sure?

The disturbing images are still fresh.

Police tried to hit a raccoon they believed was rabid, before it could bite or attack anyone.

Many witnesses say it seemed fine, but testing from the DEC revealed otherwise.

Wednesday, NEWS10 ABC wanted to find out what would you do if a wild animal like this crossed your path.

Devin Harding has a plan.

“It’s not safe. You got to protect yourself and keep everyone else protected. I would call the cops and hopefully they would help,” Harding said.

Others, like Sophie Rowe, would be concerned.

“I’d be scared for the animal because I know it’s out of its habitat,” Rowe said.

But, the truth is distinguishing between a rabid animal and one that is simply scared, isn’t easy.

Dr. Patricia Rockstroh is the Vice President of Veterinary Services for Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.

She says symptoms can vary.

“Aimless wondering. Signs of dizziness, like they’re drunk,” are some symptoms, said Rockstroh.

While many looked at this video and said the raccoon wasn’t foaming at the mouth, Rockstroh says that doesn’t always happen, even if an animal is rabid.

The best thing you can do is keep your distance and contact an expert, like animal control.

“It’s wildlife. Even if it doesn’t have rabies it is still a wild animal that we need to be cautious with it,” Rockstroh said.

Meanwhile, as for the officers involved, there is now a petition online to have them disciplined or even fired for their actions. It currently has over 34,000 supporters.

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