Across the area, reports of encounters with rabid raccoons are on the rise. Officials advise residents to leave wild animals alone if encountered and to take precautions:
- Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies and their shots are up to date. By law, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies.
- Do not touch or feed stray animals; call the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Animal Control Division at 703-931-9241 to have them picked up.
- Avoid wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, foxes, and skunks.
- Keep wild animals out of homes by capping chimneys with screens and blocking openings in attics, cellars and porches.
- Do not handle sick, injured or dead animals.
- Teach children to avoid contact with wild animals and unfamiliar pets.
- If a bat is found indoors and may have had contact with someone, do not release it. Call the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Animal Control Division at 703-931-9241 to determine if the animal should be picked up and tested for rabies.
- Do not feed pets outdoors. Pet food, even the odor of it, in empty containers and on the ground, draws wildlife.