Health officials in Meriden are reminding residents to take protect themselves and their pets after a woodchuck tested positive for rabies.
Meriden Health officials said the woodchuck was found in the Baldwin Pond area. Officials warned that warm weather increases the chance of an encounter with wildlife and that residents should take precautions for themselves and their pets.
Rabies is commonly carried by skunks, raccoons and bats but any mammal can carry and transmit the disease, according to health officials.
Meriden officials offered the following safety tips:
- Vaccinate your pets. Be sure your pet dogs, cats, ferrets and other animals are up-to-date on rabies vaccinations. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors and allowed outside only under direct observation. Your veterinarian can let you know if your pet is too young to be vaccinated.
- Keep family pets indoors at night. Don’t leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.
- Don’t attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods that may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cap or put away garbage cans.
- Don’t feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or cats. Enjoy wildlife from a distance. If you see an animal that is sick, injured or orphaned, get in touch with Animal Control by calling dispatch at (203) 238-1911. Do not handle the animal yourself.
- Get wild animals removed from your home. If nuisance wild animals are living in parts of your home, consult with a nuisance wildlife control expert about having them removed.
- Teach children not to touch any animal they do not know and to tell an adult immediately if they are bitten by any animal.
- Let wild animals wander away if they are on your property. Bring children and pets indoors and alert neighbors who are outside.
- Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to your local health department. If possible, do not let any animal escape that has possibly exposed someone to rabies.
For more information visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, contact Meriden Department of Health and Human Services at (203) 630-4226, or Meriden Animal Control at (203) 235-4179.