My dog was recently attacked by a rabid raccoon. I heard some commotion coming from the bushes and I ran over to see what was going on. The dog came out of the bushes with a raccoon hanging off the ground from her neck. I managed to scare the raccoon off the dog and quickly took her into the house so she wouldn’t be attacked again. I grabbed my .22 rifle and went back out to where the raccoon was. It was still standing in the same spot, unaware that I was standing there. I whistled and it turned around and growled at me, then it began coming toward me. I shot it once and it fell dead on the ground. It was a very scraggly and unhealthy looking raccoon. I then put on some gloves and carefully placed it in a double trash bag with a shovel, being careful not to come in contact with it. I then took it and my dog to the vet where the dog received a rabies booster and some antibiotics to prevent infection from the raccoon bites. The vet put the dead raccoon in the freezer and was planning on sending it to the CDC to have it tested. The test did come back positive for rabies.
This is only the second time I have come across a rabid animal. Both of them happened to be raccoons. Rabies is not very common, but when it does show up in an animal it is not something to mess around with. All mammals can become infected with rabies, but it show up more in certain animals. Raccoons, foxes, skunks, coyotes, and bats are infected with rabies at a higher rate than other mammals. Many of you may have seen the news story recently about a man that was attacked by a rabid coyote in northern New Jersey. The coyote attacked him with no provocation. Luckily the animal was found and put down. Testing confirmed that it was infected with rabies.
It is a good idea for everyone to educate themselves about rabies. Rabies isn’t just a disease of animals in rural areas. Animals in the suburbs and even in cities can contract the disease. To help you become more familiar with rabies I have included an excellent link to a page from the Centers For Disease Control about rabies. It is a good idea to read up on it in case you find yourself in a similar situation that I had with my dog.