Rye police responded to two incidents involving possibly rabid animals in recent days. The cases come in the wake of concerns about rabies throughout Westchester County this month.
On Thursday morning, Sept. 22, police responded to a Park Avenue home after receiving a report of possibly rabid raccoon. At the scene, the officer shot the animal twice, killing it.
On Sunday, Sept. 25, Rye police responded to a children's party at Rye Recreation center after concerns about a squirrel. An officer bagged the squirrel and took it to Veterinary Emergency Group in Greenburgh for testing.
Though rabies affects animals differently, unusual behavior may be a sign of rabies , for example, if an animal that is usually nocturnal and shy is active during the day or aggressively engages humans and animals. Animals with rabies may act strangely, but could also seem unusually friendly.
, Jim Horton, owner of Quality Pro Pest and Wildlife Services in Mount Pleasant described rabid animals thusly, "I say it’s kind of like a zombie-thing. They’ve got that blank stare in their eyes,” he said. “They’re just going after whatever moves and whatever makes sounds.”
Peter Constantakes, a spokesman at the New York State health department, said sightings of rabid animals may increase in early fall because they are looking for food before hibernation season.
Rabies is a viral disease that only mammals carry. Raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes and bats are the animals that most frequently transmit rabies to other animals, according to website eMedTV.
–Ossining, Mamaroneck, Scarsdale, Katonah and Yorktown– after cases involving a rabid skunk and raccoon acting aggressively toward people and pets.
The health department used robo-calls to alert residents in a quarter-mile perimeter of the incidents and pets that were in contact of the diseased animals were vaccinated.
Anyone who may have had contact with a rabid animal should call Rye Police or the Westchester County Department of Health immediately at (914) 813-5000 to determine if rabies treatment is needed.
For more information about rabies and its prevention, visit the Westchester County Health Department’s website at www.westchestergov.com/health. Residents also can call the RABIES INFOLINE at (914) 813-5010 to listen to a taped message.