Rabid raccoon bites resident in Hopewell Township


A raccoon found on Hopewell-Pennington Road has tested positive for rabies after biting a resident.

The raccoon was collected by Hopewell Township Animal Control on May 9 after biting a  resident. The animal was submitted for testing at the New Jersey Public Health and Environmental Laboratory and test results provided to Health Officer Dawn Marling on May 11 were positive, according to a township release.

The resident immediately received post-exposure medical care and vaccination. Potentially exposed domestic animals on the property were re-vaccinated and will remain under observation by the township, according to the statement.

The Health Department is asking any resident or pet owner in the area that may have had an encounter with this raccoon, or any other animal behaving unusually, to immediately notify the township. Animal Control can be reached from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at 609-537-0278, and on evenings and weekends through the police department’s non-emergency line at 609-737-3100.

Pet owners should ensure their animals are up-to-date with rabies vaccination, according to the statement.

Pet owners are reminded not to allow their pets to run at-large, which can put them at risk of encountering rabid wildlife, according to officials.

Raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and unvaccinated cats and dogs are among the animals that can also develop rabies. Behavioral signs of rabid animals, wild or domestic, may include staggering, restlessness, aggression, a change of the tone of their barks or growls, or choking, according to the statement. Passive animals sometimes become fierce and aggressive.

Nocturnal animals sometimes appear during the day, which occurred on May 9, according to the statement.

Discourage wild animal foraging by not leaving pet food outside and by securing garbage cans, according to the release. Additionally, residents are being asked to avoid feeding, touching, or housing stray or wild animals, officials said.

If an animal looks sick, injured, orphaned (except fawns) or behaving oddly, leave it alone and contact Hopewell Township Animal Control, officials said. Residents are being told not to handle the animal themselves. If possible, keep an eye on wandering animals to assists animal control with finding animal for capture.

For more information, visit www.hopewelltwp.org.