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Rabid stray cat found near Four Seasons Parkway, Route 896 in Newark

Betsy Price Government & Politics, Headlines, Health

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Newark residents who live or spend time in the Four Seasons Parkway near Route 896 that a stray cat bit two people in the area.

The cat had been acting lethargic and had obvious wounds. Its test results came back Thursday. The two people who were bit have begun treatment for rabies exposure.

Anyone who thinks they might have been bitten, scratched or some in contact with a stray cat in that area should immediate call a doctor or the Delaware Division of Public Health Rabies Program at (302) 744-4995, any time of day or night.

Anyone in the area who thinks a feral cat might have bitten their pet should call their veterinarian for examination and treatment of the cat. The veterinarian will report the exposure to Delaware Department of Agriculture.

DPH recommends that individuals take the following steps to prevent rabies exposure:

  • All dogs, cat, and ferrets 6 months of age and older are required by Delaware law to be vaccinated.
  • Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by keeping them indoors, especially cats.
  • Do not touch or otherwise handle wild or unfamiliar animals, even if they appear friendly.
  • Do not keep your pet’s food or water outdoors; bowls can attract wild and stray animals.
  • Do not feed feral animals, including cats.
  • Spaying or neutering your pet may reduce the tendency to roam or fight.
  • Keep your garbage securely covered.

Since Jan. 1, 2021, the Division of Public Health has performed rabies tests on 44 animals. Only the cat was confirmed as rabid. DPH only announces cases in which the animal had unknown contacts with additional humans or pets.

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In 2020, DPH performed rabies tests on 121 animals, four of which were confirmed to be rabid, including one raccoon, one bat and two cats.

The state also offered suggested about handling animals who behave aggressively or are sick:

  • Contact the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Wildlife Section at (302) 739-9912 or (302) 735-3600. Staff will determine whether to handle it or refer a caller to a private nuisance wildlife control operator.
  • Do not throw items at the animal or make loud banging noises, which may cause it to attack. Instead, raise your hands above your head to make yourself appear larger  while slowly backing away. If the animal comes toward you, raise your voice and yell, “Get away!” If all that fails, use any means to protect yourself, including throwing an object at the animal or keeping it away by using a long stick, shovel or fishing pole.
  • If you encounter am aggressive stray or feral domestic animal, call the Office of Animal Welfare at (302) 255-4646.
  • To report a sick or hurt wild animal, call DNREC’s Wildlife Section.
  • If you encounter a sick stray domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, contact the Office of Animal Welfare.

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