CHATHAM COUNTY, GA – A raccoon that attacked a stray cat on 59th Street in Savannah has tested positive for rabies. The cat, described as solid white with fluffy fur, got away from the raccoon and has not yet been found. Residents in the area are asked to contact Chatham County Animal Control at 525-2408 and the Chatham County Health Department Environmental Health Division at 356-2160 if they see the cat.

Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. Symptoms of rabies in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis.

The Chatham County Health Department Environmental Health Division offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:
• Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
• Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines by four months of age, followed by a booster shot one year later, and another one every one to three years as prescribed by your veterinarian.
• Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
• Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.

If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Chatham County Animal Control at 525-2408 and the Chatham County Health Department Environmental Health Division at 356-2160.