Animal Services Division rabies warning

Published 10:26 am Thursday, January 21, 2021

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To protect the health of our community, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Division is notifying residents of animals that have been found with rabies.

Rabies is a deadly viral disease which is usually spread by a bite from an infected animal. Any mammal, including humans, can become infected. While Forsyth County does not have a large number of cases each year, three raccoons have tested positive for rabies. The Animal Services Division encourages the community to take every precaution to help ensure that cases stay to a minimum.

Per the North Carolina Department of Public Health, the most important things you can do to combat rabies are:

  • Vaccinate your dogs, cats, and ferrets against rabies and keep the vaccinations current.
  • Keep pets inside, supervise pets when outside, and keep dogs on a leash.
  • Do not feed pets outside. Pet food and mulch attract wildlife.
  • Do not feed wildlife, feral cats/dogs.
  • Secure garbage cans with wildlife-proof lids.

The Animal Services Division reminds the community to make sure your pet has an up-to-date rabies vaccine and you have proof of a current vaccine readily available. A tag is not sufficient proof, you need the paperwork (certificate) from a veterinarian or clinic.

If you see wildlife exhibiting abnormal behavior such as approaching humans in an aggressive manner, be sure to keep pets away and avoid the animal. Simply being out during daylight hours or being in an area where people live is not immediate cause for concern. Animals such as raccoons or foxes which are primarily nocturnal will search for food at any time. All types of wildlife adapt quickly to human behavior, such as not securing trash or intentionally leaving food for strays outside.

If your pet comes in contact with wildlife, you need to use extreme caution after the fact. If your dog or cat kills wildlife, never touch the deceased animal with your bare hands. If your pet appears to have any injuries, do not touch your pet with your bare hands either.

Contact Animal Services immediately for any contact with wildlife, excluding birds, at 336-727-2112.