DENVILLE TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – Denville has continued to see an increase in positive rabies tests of sick raccoons throughout the entire township, according to authorities.
Authorities want to remind all residents to ensure that their family pets are currently immunized for rabies and that they should not approach any wildlife, particularly if the animal appears to be sick or injured.
Raccoons are common carriers of rabies, which is a potentially deadly disease caused by a virus found in the saliva of rabid animals. It can be transmitted by bites, scratches, or possibly by contaminated saliva coming in contact with any open cuts or in contact with your eyes. Other common carriers of the virus are skunks, foxes, woodchucks, bats, and unvaccinated feral (stray) animals.
Once an animal becomes infected with rabies it may display aggressive behavior, appear to be drunk or injured, and/or have trouble walking. Rabid animals may attempt to bite or attack people and/or domesticated animals. Other signs of rabies infection include disorientation, loss of appetite, excessive irritability, unusual vocalization, abnormal behavior, restlessness, jumping at noises, excessive salivation, tremors, convulsions, or paralysis. However, it should also be noted that some rabid animals do not display any signs of the illness.
The Denville Township Animal Control Officer and the Denville Township Department of Health recommend the following precautions to protect yourself and your family from possible exposure:
- Avoid any direct contact with wild or stray animals.
- Do not feed or touch any wild animals.
- Do not allow your cats or dogs to have contact with any wild animals.
- Vaccinate your pets against rabies and keep vaccinations up-to-date.
- Never adopt any wild animals or bring them into your home.
- Ensure that garbage stored outdoors is inaccessible to wildlife. Use tight-fitting lids on garbage cans containing food waste and, whenever possible, keep such garbage indoors until collection day.
- Report all injuries and bites to persons or domestic animals to the Denville Township Animal Control Officer and the Denville Township Health Department.
- Residents who have any pets that have been left outside unsupervised should seek veterinary attention for any new injuries of unknown origin.
Residents are encouraged to be alert and to report any sick or injured animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, woodchucks, bats, and feral (stray) animals to the Denville Township Police Department at 973-627-4900 x 9.