NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Officials are trying to find whoever left five well-fed baby raccoons on the doorstep of the Westchester County Health Department.
The raccoons were delivered Friday in a cage with bottles of milk, blankets and toys.
The department said the obvious nurturing means someone had close contact with the animals. It said that person should be interviewed and assessed about the possibility of rabies, which raccoons can carry. The disease is fatal in humans.
A spokeswoman said if the person comes forward, he or she will be asked about any bites or scratches. That would help determine whether the animals must be tested for rabies, which can only be done by killing them.
“We are not looking to charge them with anything. My only concern is their health and well-being,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Sherlita Amler told 1010 WINS. “I need to have conversations with them about these animals so I can determine whether or not these animals need to be sent for testing or whether the person needs treatment.”
The raccoons were placed with a certified wildlife rehabilitator who will watch them for signs of rabies.
“Although they are really, really adorable, we worry because raccoons can carry rabies,” Dr. Amler said. “And we don’t know who left them, so we don’t know if there was an exposure. I really don’t know what happened to the mom. Was the mother raccoon, did she become ill and die? Was she hit by a car?”
All animal bites or contacts with animals suspected of having rabies must be reported to the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000, 24 hours a day.
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