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Cat captured on Northern Avenue tests positive for rabies

March 23, 2012|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • This cat tested positive for rabies after it was captured by animal-control agents last week in the 300 block of Northern Avenue in Hagerstown.
Submitted photo

A cat has tested positive for rabies after it was captured by animal-control agents last week in the 300 block of Northern Avenue in Hagerstown, the Humane Society of Washington County said Friday.

Humane Society spokeswoman Catherine Cooker said the 6- to 8-year-old male, brown- and black-tabby had been behaving erratically, hissing one moment and being friendly the next.

“The behavior was very erratic and a great concern,” Cooker said. “Anyone who came in contact with the cat needs to contact the (Washington County) Health Department.”

Cooker said animal and health officials don’t know who owned the cat because it wasn’t wearing a collar.

The humane society said feline rabies cases have increased in Washington County over the past few years.

Humane society Executive Director Paul Miller said in a news release that since he arrived at the organization in 2003, cats have tested positive for rabies in almost every part of the county.

He recommended that people use extreme caution if they try to pet or catch a strange animal.

Maryland and county law require all pet owners to have their dogs, cats and ferrets inoculated against rabies after 4 months of age, the humane society said. Vaccination also is recommended for horses.

“This is transmittable to humans and is fatal when symptoms appear,” Miller said in the release.

Health department spokesman Rod MacRae said the cat was tested at the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene rabies laboratory in Baltimore.

If you think you have had physical contact with the rabid cat, call the county health department at 240-313-3200.

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