Residents advised how to avoid rabid animals

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BELLOWS FALLS -- Though no animal has tested positive for rabies in Rockingham so far this year, the town’s highway department has recently dealt with four instances of ill and disoriented animals.

As a result, Rockingham Health Officer Ellen Howard wants to remind residents to make sure their pets have up-to-date rabies vaccines.

Two incidents involved raccoons on Pleasant Valley Road -- one of them was near the Saxtons River Recreation Center. Another ill raccoon was located at the east end of Main Street in Saxtons River.

The fourth animal was a fox on Bramley Way in Bellows Falls.

Howard warns that no one can tell if an animal has rabies simply by looking at it. Rabid animals may seem normal or they can be lethargic or aggressive. There is usually a change in normal behavior and people are advised to avoid any animal that exhibits strange behavior.

The health officer suggests residents use caution in approaching animals, especially domestic animals not known to them, or wild ones.

Pets -- including cats -- should be vaccinated against rabies. Yards should not be made inviting to wild animals and pet food dishes should not be left outside. Pets should always be fed indoors and be kept in at night to avoid being in contact with rabid animals. Trash cans also need to be tightly closed and trash left for curbside pickup should be in animal-proof containers.

The Vermont Rabies Hotline is 1-800-4-Rabies.

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