Health district asking public to keep cats on property during rabies investigation

(WCJB File)
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 4:57 PM EDT
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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District is asking people living near the Walmart on Mount Cross Road to keep their domestic cats contained within their property, as efforts are underway to corral a group of feral cats that may have had contact with a rabid fox.

The public was advised last weekend of a rabid fox roaming in the vicinity of Mount Cross Road and Tyler Avenue in Danville, that had bitten at least two people. Anyone who may have been in contact with the fox or any other animal near Walmart on Mount Cross Road or near Tyler Avenue is asked to contact the Pittsylvania-Danville at (434) 776-9800.

Animal control officers and Danville Police will attempt to capture feral cats in an effort to prevent further spread of rabies. For the next three weeks, traps will be placed in areas where the feral cats have been reported. Cats that are captured will be temporarily held for 10 days at the Danville Area Humane Society.

Due to this trapping period, according to the health district, domestic cats that are not contained by their owners may be trapped, and taken to the animal shelter. If any residents find they may be missing their pets, they are encouraged to contact the Danville Area Humane Society at (434) 799-5306.

The following is a statement from the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District:

Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. Any person or family pet bitten or scratched by an animal should be reported to the local health department in order to determine any risk of rabies exposure and to receive recommendations for medical care.

The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District encourages everyone to vaccinate their pets, to protect them, family members, loved ones and the community at large from rabies. Virginia law requires domestic animals to be vaccinated against rabies.

In addition to keeping pets vaccinated and keeping vaccinations current, take these steps to protect families and pets from exposure to rabies:

· Avoid contact with wild animals, such as raccoons and skunks, or stray cats and dogs;

· Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs;

· Report stray animals to your local animal control agency;

· Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home; and

· Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.

For additional information, visit vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/animal-contact-human-health/ or call the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District at (434) 766-9828.

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