SAVANNAH, GA. (June 19, 2014): Animal Control officers from the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department have secured five cats and are looking for more and additional victims after a kitten from a neighborhood colony tested positive for rabies this week.

Nine potential victims have been identified as having contact with the infected kitten or other cats in the small feral colony that frequented yards near the 200 block of Winchester Drive on east Wilmington Island. The cats were fed by neighbors but they were not provided medical treatment or vaccinations. Now, Animal Control officers are concerned for the safety of residents in the area and even their pets that might have been vaccinated.

Four additional cats were recovered by Animal Control this morning but others were seen in the neighborhood. Traps have been set for other cats and a raccoon that may have had exposure to the infected kitten last week.

“It’s a good idea to keep away from these cats as we get this colony removed,” said Lt. Cary Hill who commands Animal Control. “We don’t know how they might be affected if they come into contact with these cats or even other animals. Residents in the area should not handle or feed stray or unknown animals or wildlife. And anyone who has come into contact with the cats and/or wildlife in the area should contact us.”

People can be infected with rabies by contact with an infected animal ranging from a slight scratch to a bite. Anyone with concerns that they may have been exposed or who sees one of the homeless cats should call Animal Control at 912-351-6750 or Chatham County Environmental Health Division 912.356-2160.