A raccoon found in Hamilton Township is Atlantic County’s fourth confirmed rabies case this year.
The raccoon was discovered by the two dogs of the homeowner on Ken Scull Avenue, public health officials said.
The three animals started fighting, but the owner was able to get the dogs inside and call for help.
The raccoon was sent to the lab for testing, and the confirmation came in Friday.
Both dogs are currently vaccinated, but received a rabies booster for added protection and were placed on a 45-day informal confinement as a precautionary measure.
This is the second raccoon to test positive for rabies in Atlantic County this year. The other was in Galloway Township.
The other two rabies cases involved bats.
Atlantic County health officials remind residents of the importance of vaccinating their pets against rabies, a viral disease that can be fatal if left untreated.
Rabies vaccinations also help protect pet owners and their family members from contracting the disease from an infected pet.
The Atlantic County Animal Shelter is holding its next free rabies vaccination clinics for dogs on Sunday, Aug. 23 and cats the next Sunday, Aug. 30. Appointments are required and can be made online at www.aclink.org/animalshelter.
Dogs and cats who receive an initial rabies vaccination are not considered immunized until 28 days after the vaccine has been administered, therefore it is strongly recommended that any animal newly vaccinated or those too young to receive the vaccine (less than three months) not be left outdoors unattended.
Situations have arisen where pet owners have left unvaccinated or newly vaccinated pets outdoors where they have sustained exposures to known or suspect rabid animals, resulting in euthanasia or four to six months strict confinement.
Public health officials also advise residents to teach your children to stay away from wild, stray or aggressive animals. Never feed or touch wild animals or try to keep them as pets.
If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention. All bites should be reported to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health at 609-645-5971.