This week in Fun With Furry Mammals, a dead raccoon found in Bensonhurst earlier this month tested positive for rabies, and the Health Department says it may have infected some stray cats and kitties in the neighborhood.
According to officials, the raccoon was found on August 15th on 16th Ave near 78th Street, just a block from New Utrecht High School. The animal tested positive for rabies a few days later, and the Health Department has issued a neighborhood-wide warning, distributing a flyer [pdf] offering the following tips:
- Stay away from wild animals like raccoons, bats and stray cats, especially if they look sick or act strangely.
- Keep your dog on a leash and your cat indoors.
- If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound right away, and talk to a doctor.
- Call 311 if you or your pet were bitten — or if you see a wild or stray animal that looks sick.
Rabies is fairly rare—no New York City humans have been infected with the disease in over 50 years, and only two animals have tested positive for the disease this year. Unfortunately, both of those animals were raccoons, and a number of raccoons have tested positive for the disease in years prior. Please note that even though they look cute, you probably don't want to start feeding your raccoon neighbors and going on '70s soundtrack-backed space adventures with them.