Press Club

JUST IN: A rabid raccoon was on the loose at the Shirlington Dog Park

A raccoon (via Jonnelle Yankovich/Unsplash)

There was a rabid raccoon on the loose in Arlington that came into contact with a number of dogs.

Last week, Arlington animal control responded to an incident involving multiple dogs and a raccoon at the heavily-visited Shirlington Dog Park at 2710 S. Oakland Street.

The raccoon was removed and, later, tested clinically positive for rabies — a disease that both humans and animals can get from a scratch or a bit from an infected animal.

This is not the first time in recent memory a rabid animal has threatened Arlington humans and their furry best friends. In May, a potentially rabid fox bit two people near Lacey Woods Park. In February and March, a rabies outbreak in raccoons had pet owners thinking about their own quarantine for their animals.

Animal control is asking residents to make sure their pets are up to date on their vaccines, to keep dogs on a leash and cats inside, to feed pets inside and not to approach wildlife. The department is also asking residents to remove wildlife attractants, such as compost and unsecured garbage cans, from their yards.

“If you, your child, or your pet may have come into contact with any wild animals including bats or raccoons, please call Arlington County Animal Control at 703-931-9241 immediately,” the Animal Welfare League of Arlington said in a message posted on social media. “It is fatal if medical care is not given promptly.”

“Arlington County Animal Control is also urging residents to remain vigilant and if they see any animal that appears sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive to stay away from the animal and call Animal Control immediately,” AWLA said. “If you come across a deceased rabies vector animal (including cats, dogs, foxes, raccoons, and groundhogs) in your yard or a public space please do not handle the animal and contact Animal Control promptly.”

Photo via Jonnelle Yankovich/Unsplash

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