Harnett County officials are warning residents to be on the lookout for dangerous animals after the case of a rabid animal in recent days.
According to Harnett County Animal Services Director Steve Berube, the incident happened in the 3900 block of Old Stage Road in Erwin. A raccoon got into a fight with a dog and then escaped.
“The raccoon got away and was able to make it to a house across the street,” Mr. Berube said. “It got up the porch and the resident killed it.”
Mr. Berube said the animal was picked up and tested for rabies and it came back positive.
Citizens were made aware of the incident through a computerized phone call to homes.
“We aren’t having an outbreak or anything like that, but we want people to know we are having more cases than usual,” Mr. Berube said.
The raccoon in the most recent case did not attack a person, but Harnett County Health Director John Rouse said citizens need to take precautionary measures.
“The main thing is people need to get their animals vaccinated,” Mr. Rouse said.
Mr. Rouse also said residents can take steps to discourage the animals from coming near homes.
“If trash cans are left open, there is a chance you might have raccoons,” Mr. Rouse said. “Residents need to keep their trash cans closed.”
Previously, raccoons have been found in different areas of the county.
In one recent incident a raccoon was killed in a fight with a dog near Vann Lane in Dunn. Another raccoon was found near Neighbors Road and the other siting occurred at another location in April. Any dogs involved in those attacks had proper vaccinations.
Throughout the county, 17 animals have been sent to laboratories for testing. Of those, the three raccoons were the only animals which came back as positive for the disease.
The weather could be a factor in the cases this year.
“The hot weather might be bringing them out more than usual,” Mr. Berube said.
Animal control officials are recommending owners get all pets over the age of 4 months old vaccinated.
Vaccinations are available at the Harnett County Animal Services office at a cost of $8. Appointments can be made by calling 910-814-2952 or visiting harnett.org/acl.