A cat with rabies has been confirmed in the North Stafford area of Stafford County, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office reported.
On March 24 a citizen contacted the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Office to report she and a friend had been scratched by a stray cat they were trying to capture, Bill Kennedy, Stafford County Sheriff's Office spokesperson, said in a press release.
The incident occurred in the area of the 100 block of Eustace Road and Northampton Blvd. The cat was picked up by an Animal Control officer and held at the Stafford Animal Shelter for a 10 day rabies observation confinement, as required by state law.
After several days at the shelter, the health department was notified the cat was exhibiting symptoms of an unknown illness which were getting more significant, Kennedy said. Due to the deteriorating condition of the cat, the animal was euthanized by shelter staff and sent to the state lab for rabies testing. The test resulted in a positive finding for rabies.
The women who found the rabid cat advise that they feed several other cats in the area where the rabid cat was found. "Animal Control officers will be attempting the trap the six stray cats that have been seen in the same area, due to the possible exposure of these cats to the rabid cat and the need to prevent the further spread of the rabies virus," Kennedy said.
"Animal Control Officers will be targeting the six specific stray cats, but citizens need to be aware that if other cats are captured in the traps, they will be taken to the animal shelter," Kennedy said.
Citizens are reminded to not approach or try to catch stray or wild animals. This message should be shared with children, especially during this spring break week when children are home from school.
Animal owners should always maintain the appropriate vaccinations for their animals and, if possible, keep animals confined to the premises to avoid the threat of rabies. Even strictly indoor cats or dogs need rabies shots.
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