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Rabid raccoon attack prompts warning on pet vaccinations

The Henderson County Health Department is warning pet owners to make sure their animals are vaccinated after a raccoon that attacked two dogs in the East Flat Rock area on Monday tested positive for rabies.

County officials received confirmation on Wednesday from the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health of the first positive rabies case in Henderson County this year.

Animal control officers and the Health Department were able to recover the raccoon and send it off to be tested after the dogs' owner shot it, said Health Department spokeswoman Kim Horton.

"If they're unvaccinated it's not a good thing," she said. "It's important to stay up to date and make sure they have a current vaccination. This happens every year" that pets are attacked somewhere in the county.
The Henderson County Sheriff’s Animal Enforcement Division and the Department of Public Health also urged residents to contact a veterinarian immediately if their pet seems injured from an unknown cause, displays unusual behaviors or appears sick — even if it is current on its rabies vaccination.

It is possible that the raccoon may have had contact with other wild animals. All county residents should be cautious the next several weeks to protect families, neighbors and pets. The area to watch for other animals that could have contracted rabies is a one-mile radius from the exposure and includes Felmet Road, Crest Road, Howard Gap Loop, Ridgeway Drive, Surrett Drive, Solomon Cove, Oak Grove, Tabor Road, Hill Drive and Summit Springs Drive.

Rabies is a deadly viral disease affecting the central nervous system. Rabies can be prevented but not cured. A healthy animal or human can get rabies when bitten, licked or scratched by a sick animal.

Residents in the affected area who have questions may call 828-694-6019. For more information about rabies, visit the Health Department’s website at