The City of Falls Church Animal Control and Police departments are cautioning the community about rabid raccoon and foxes after a dead raccoon, which later tested positive for rabies, was found in the 600 block of Knollwood Drive.
Two dogs are in quarantine and the owner of the dogs is undergoing inoculations as a precaution. This is the second rabid raccoon to be located in that area of the City in the past six months. Fairfax and Arlington Counties are reporting an increase in rabies cases.
“Most of the wildlife population is healthy, but rabies will always continue to be a risk in the wildlife population,” said Rebecca Keenan, City of Falls Church animal warden. “You do not have to be bitten to contract rabies. Exposure to saliva from sick wildlife or your exposed pet is also considered an exposure. Only mammals can carry rabies. Bird and reptiles cannot.”
In a press release from the City of Falls Church, Kennan recommended the following to prevent exposure to rabid animals:
- Do not feed wildlife. Do not leave pet food outdoors unattended.
- Inoculate your dogs and cats for rabies. Keep their inoculations up to date.
- Do not allow your pet cats to roam freely outdoors. Cats interact with all sorts of wildlife when they roam and they can bring disease home to you.
- Keep your dog on a leash, especially at night in your yard. Your dog can encounter a wild animal in your yard at night, fight with it and then expose you.
- Secure your trash.
- Close all pet doors at night.
- Do not trap wildlife and relocate it. It is against Virginia law to relocate any wild animal. By doing so you could infect an area with rabies and other diseases. Relocated wildlife rarely survive being moved from their territory. It is also against the law to possess wildlife. There are no approved rabies vaccines for wild animals.
- Report animals that look sick, especially raccoon and fox. Animals that do not run from you, appear to stagger and vocalize are suspect. It is a myth that wild animals out during the day are sick. Wildlife in our area is very accustomed to people and it is not uncommon to see them out especially when they are weaning their young.
- If bitten, scratched or exposed, immediately wash the wound, contact your physician and contact the Falls Church Police Department at 703-241-5053 (TTY 711). If the suspect animal is still in the area, try and keep sight of its location, so responding police personnel can possibly capture it.
- If you should locate a bat inside your home, do not remove the bat, try and secure the room where the bat is and contact the City of Falls Church Police for further information regarding the situation.