Recently, multiple local news sources have reported that as many as 23 Arlington County, Virginia residents have been exposed to a rabid stray kitten and have begun taking a series of preventive rabies injections. Authorities are searching for another kitten and the mother.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offer the following tips to protect your pets from contracting rabies:
- “Visit your veterinarian with your pet on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, ferrets, and dogs.
- Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.
- Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or vaccinated regularly.
- Call animal control to remove all stray animals from your neighborhood since these animals may be unvaccinated or ill.”
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington warns that the East Coast is presently in the midst of a rabies emergency, and urges everyone to be cautious of any animal that exhibits the following symptoms:
- “Drooling or foaming at the mouth. This happens during the final stage of the disease, although not every rabid animal will display this symptom.
- Inability to walk straight. An animal may zigzag, stagger and fall over as if it were drunk, walk or run in circles or bite its own limbs.
- Lethargy. An animal that would normally be startled by and run from loud noises, activity or the sight of humans hunkers down in one spot and refuses to move. Don’t approach the animal; spray it with a hose from a distance or bang trash can lids together to see if that will scare it away. If it doesn’t leave, it may be ill.
- Unprovoked aggression. An animal that would normally flee from humans shows no fear at all and may even attack without provocation.”
The following are emergency contact numbers for metro area animal control departments:
- Montgomery County: (240) 773-5900
- Prince George’s County: (301) 333-4000
- District of Columbia: (202) 576-6664
- Fairfax County: (703) 691-2131
- Arlington County: (703) 931-9241
- Baltimore County: (410) 887-5961
For information about your legal rights, please click here or call the law firm of Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at (202) 463-3030.