Vero Beach Animal Control has put down 50 possibly rabid animals

VERO BEACH — Vero Beach Animal Control Officer Bruce Dangerfield estimates he has put down 30 raccoons and 20 feral cats since it was suspected about a month and-a-half ago that a raccoon had come down with rabies.And in that time it has been reported that 19 people have been treated for rabies for coming into contact — or possibly having come in contact — with animals suspected of having the disease. Thus far no cases of rabies have been reported in humans. “You just can’t take a chance if you get bitten or scratched and you don’t know if they had rabies,” Dangerfield said.The Vero Beach Animal Control Officer has been busy dealing with over 100 calls since the alert first went out for residents to be on the lookout for raccoons, feral cats, bats, and dogs that might be acting overly aggressive or overly passive.”About 90 percent of the cases (involving rabies) have been raccoons,” Dangerfield said. The county has issued a rabies alert that takes in the barrier island and on the mainland from Oslo Road to County Road 512 and from U.S. 1 to 58th Avenue.Dangerfield said three of those being treated are beachside landscape workers who came in contact with a raccoon.He also pointed out residents should take care with their animals, especially those that they feed outside. Rabies can be passed by saliva and a rabid animal could drink from a pet’s water bowl and pass along the disease to your animal.If you run across an animal you suspect to be rabid call Indian River County Animal Control at (772) 226-3485, ext. 1446 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and dial 911 on weekends and after hours. Suspected animals in Vero Beach should be reported to the police department at (772) 978-4600.

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