WESTON, FLA. (WSVN) - - The Florida Department of Health in Broward County has issued a safety alert for the City of Weston after, officials said, a fox in the area tested positive for rabies.
The alert, issued Saturday afternoon, extends to the areas North of Weston Hills Drive, West of Southwest 196th Avenue, East of North Ridge Drive and South of Griffin Road.
Area residents said the announcement has put them on high alert.
“I’m scared, scared, and I want to make sure I take care of my dog as well,” said Daniel Lassack.
“People let their dogs out, their cats. Yeah, it’s terrible,” said Susan Divine, a mother of three.
According to health officials, rabies attacks the nervous system and could be fatal to warm-blooded animals and even humans.
“Any little animal I see now, I’m gonna be looking over my shoulder right now,” said Lassack. “If [my dog] gets sick — and we don’t have insurance for her — it’s probably going to be devastating, and just thinking about it is kind of making me feel nervous.”
Divine said she’s concerned for her children’s safety.
“You’d have to go straight to the hospital. You’d have to go get them treated, and I believe the rabies treatment is supposed to be like a lot of shots, and the kids wouldn’t like that,” she said.
Health officials urge Broward residents and visitors to have their pets vaccinated for rabies as soon as possible. They advise keeping pets and children away from raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes and other wild animals.
“Well, I walk my dog on a leash, and I’ll keep an eye on my kids,” said Divine.
“I may not even go around the parks as much. I live around here in the neighborhood,” said Lassack. “I’m going to probably carry her more often. I’m going to take her out and use the bathroom, but as far as leisure strolls, I might not be doing that as much.”
They also provided the following additional tips:
- Make sure inoculations are up to date for vaccinated pets and at-risk livestock.
- Do not allow pets to run free. Leash laws should be followed, and pets and livestock need to be secured on residents’ property.
- If pets or livestock are bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance immediately and contact Broward County Animal Services.
- Support animal control in efforts to reduce feral and stray animal populations.
- Spay or neuter your pet to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
- Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with outdoor food sources such as uncovered trash or litter.
The safety alert lasts for 60 days.
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