A North Kingstown resident is being treated for rabies exposure and two dogs have been quarantined following in incident with a possibly rabid raccoon Monday night, causing DEM's vet to caution all Rhode Island residents to stay alert.
According to the State Department of Health and Department of Environmental Management, the attack was unprovoked and happened around 6:30 p.m. Monday on Heritage Road in North Kingstown. The vaccination status of the dogs is currently being evaluated.
The animal eluded authorities' attempts to capture it and remains at large. DEM and the health department are warning that the raccoon is presumed to be infected with rabies as the animal's behavior is not typical for raccoons.
Residents are urged to contact DEM or their local Animal Control office (Coventry residents should call 822-9106) if any sick or abnormally-acting wildlife are spotted. Additionally, anyone who could have potentially had contact with a raccoon in that area should contact the RI Department of Health's Division of Infectious Diseases at 401-222-2577 for evaluation.
If you own a domestic animal that may have had contact with a raccoon or any other wildlife must report the incident to their municipal control officer or DEM's environmental police at 401-222-3070.
DEM's state veterinarian Scott Marshall, DVM, says that all Rhode Island residents should take sensible precautions, such as staying away from wildlife, vaccinating pets, securing garbage, and not leaving pet food outside.
Protecting pets from rabies helps to maintain a barrier between humans and rabies in wildlife, and, under state law, dogs, cats and ferrets must be maintained as currently vaccinated against rabies. Only a licensed veterinarian can administer the vaccine.