FCSO issues warning about warmer weather and rabies

Published 11:42 am Saturday, May 28, 2022

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The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Division is reminding everyone about the dangers of rabies, a deadly viral disease.

With the warmer weather, many humans and their pets are spending more time outdoors. Wildlife are also more active as they venture out to find food and/or new shelter.

Some wildlife species are especially susceptible to contract, carry and transmit rabies, including skunks, raccoons, bats and foxes. Rabies can be spread to not only domestic pets but also humans, and is nearly always fatal.

Fortunately, Forsyth County has not historically had a large number of rabies cases, but there are cases reported every year. Community members are encouraged to take every precaution to ensure that the number of cases stays minimal.

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 while outside.

• Do not feed pets outside. Pet food and mulch both attract wildlife.

• Do not feed wildlife, including feral cats and dogs.

• Secure garbage cans with wildlife-proof lids.

• Never handle a dead animal with your bare hands.

If you see wildlife exhibiting abnormal behavior — such as approaching humans in an aggressive manner — avoid the animal and keep your pets away from it as well. Simply seeing wildlife out and about during daylight hours, or spotting wildlife in an area where people live, is not immediate cause for concern.

Even animals that are primarily nocturnal, such as raccoons and foxes, will search for food at any time when hungry. Failing to secure lids on trash cans or intentionally leaving food outside for strays will quickly attract unwanted wildlife guests.

Make sure your pets’ rabies vaccinations are up-to-date and that proof of vaccination is readily available. A rabies tag alone is not sufficient proof; owners need to have the paperwork or certificate from the veterinarian as well.

More information concerning rabies can be found on the Forsyth County government website at https://www.forsyth.cc/sheriff/AnimalSer_Rabies.aspx

Anyone with concerns about rabies and/or wildlife should contact the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office directly on the non-emergency number at 336-727-2112.

As always, anyone with information related to criminal activity should contact the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office directly on our non-emergency number at 336-727-2112; anonymously text information, photos, and video via Text-A-Tip at 336-920-8477; or anonymously call Crimestoppers at 336-727-2800 for English or 336-728-3904 for Spanish.