CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A skunk in Clarkstown has tested positive for rabies after coming into contact with a dog belonging to an area resident, Rockland County health officials said Wednesday.
In light of the revelation, the Rockland County Health Department advised that residents take extra caution with their pets.
“We want residents to be aware that even during the winter months, wild animals are out in the community, and can come into contact with people and pets. It is very important to make sure that your pets (dogs, cats and ferrets) are up-to-date with their rabies vaccinations,” Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said in a news release.
Vaccination protects pets that are exposed to rabid animals, but some pets are too young to be vaccinated and should be kept indoors unless being strictly supervised, the department said.
The county Health Department is offering free rabies shots for dogs, cats and ferrets on Sunday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rockland County Fire Training center, at 35 Firemen’s Memorial Dr. in Pomona. Rabies clinics will also be held in July and October, the county said.
The county also advised:
Do not feed or touch wild or feral animals;
Report all animal bites to the local health department. In Rockland County, the number is (845) 364-2585, or after 5 p.m. or on holidays or weekends, (845) 364-8600.
If possible, do not let any animal escape if it might have exposed someone to rabies;
Keep family pets inside at night and don’t leave them outside to roam free;
Do not separate two fighting animals, and wear gloves if you have to handle a pet after a fight;
Do not do anything to attract wild animals, including leaving stored bird seed lying around, leaving garbage cans unsealed, leaving openings to attics, basements, porches or garages accessible, and feeding pets outside;
Teach children not to touch any strange animals and to tell an adult at once if they are bitten;
Let a wild animal on your property wander away on its own, while bringing children and pets indoors and alerting neighbors who are outside.