MIDDLEBURY — A baby raccoon found in Middlebury acting strangely Monday tested positive for rabies.
Dr. Tracy Winters said a pet owner found the clearly sick animal near Route 7 and brought it to Middlebury Animal Hospital, where it was humanely euthanized and sent to state labs for testing. On Wednesday, tests showed that the animal did suffer from rabies.
Winters urged members of the public to stay away from animals that showing unusual behavior, and to particularly urge children to avoid cute baby animals. Instead, contact police or the local animal control officer, who are trained to deal with rabid animals.
The Vermont Department of Health has recorded 34 confirmed cases of rabies in Vermont, and the third in Addison County. The Department of Health confirmed a bat with rabies in Middlebury on April 7 and a rabid raccoon in Lincoln on March 7.
State officials said people should:
• Refrain from feeding or touching wild animals, or animals they don’t know — even baby animals.
• Get rabies shots for pets, including cats.
• Call your doctor right away if you are bitten, or get animal saliva in a cut, eyes, nose or mouth.
Health officials have also said that any time a bat is found in a room with a sleeping person, they treat the bat as if it were rabid and had bitten the sleeping person.
The Vermont Rabies Hotlines is 1-800-4-RABIES (1-800-472-2437).