POLK COUNTY, Fla. – The owner of an Alaskan husky mix killed a rabid raccoon that attacked the dog Sunday in Lakeland, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said the owner witnessed the fight and separated the two animals before calling animal control.
The raccoon’s carcass was sent to a state laboratory in Tampa, where it tested positive for rabies. Authorities said this incident marks the first case of rabies in Polk County in 2020.
The dog is vaccinated but will still be held in quarantine at home for 45 days.
“If you see a wild animal in distress, or if one of your pets interacts with a wild animal, contact Polk County Animal Control immediately,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
There were five rabid bats and six rabid raccoons reported in Polk County in 2019.
Health officials recommend the following tips to keep you and your pets safe:
- All pets should have current rabies immunizations.
- Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals.
- Do not leave pet food outside. This also attracts other animals.
- Avoid contact with all wildlife, especially feral cats, raccoons, bats and foxes.
- If bitten or scratched by a suspected rabid animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water, seek medical attention, and promptly report the incident to Seminole County Animal Services.
- Rabies is preventable when treatment is provided in a timely manner.
Visit the Department of Health’s website or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for more information about rabies.