Since Wednesday, a possibly rabid raccoon has had a number of encounters with people and dogs, according to the City of Falls Church. The incidents occurred on Greenwich Street, Lincoln Avenue, Park Avenue, Great Falls Street and the WO&D Trail.
One person was scratched and two dogs fought with the animal. The raccoon appears to be sick, however is mobile and aggressive and and could show up anywhere in the area for the next few days. Citizens should take notice, keep their pets supervised and indoors and should use caution while in their yards.
If anyone should see or encounter a raccoon that appears to be sick, the City of Falls Church Police Department asks that you call them immediately at 703-241-5053. The City of Falls Church Police Department asks that those who see a raccoon exhibiting the following signs contact them immediately:
- Staggering gait
- Oblivious to noise or nearby movement
- Erratic wandering or circling
- Excessive drooling
- Wet and matted hair on face
- Repeated high-pitch vocalization
- Self-mutilation, biting or snapping
Although the risk of contracting rabies is rare, the following steps can be taken to minimize the risk of exposure to the virus:
- Don’t approach or handle wild animals, especially sick wild animals.
- Vaccinate your pets.
- Do not allow your pets to roam unattended. Walk pets on a leash.
- Do not feed wild or stray animals. Secure pet food and trash cans.
- Do not keep wild animals as pets.
- If bitten or scratched by a wild or stray animal or a pet that was seen acting strangely, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and apply antiseptic (if able). Seek medical attention immediately. Rabies in humans is 100 percent preventable through prompt, appropriate medical care.