Previously lifted rabies alert extended after 7th rabid raccoon found in Kendall

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A seventh rabid raccoon was found in a Southwest Miami-Dade neighborhood, leading to the extension of a rabies alert.

The alert had previously been lifted, Monday. However, after the seventh rabid raccoon was found in the area Wednesday, officials decided to extend the alert for an additional 60 days.

“It hasn’t been not even a week since it was lifted and now it’s back,” said resident Martha Torres, who was shocked about the latest alert. “I just have to be on top of the kids every day now.”

The boundaries of the alert are between Southwest 152nd Street and 187th Street – and Southwest 117th Avenue and 137th Avenue.

“The more distance you can put between yourself and wildlife, the safer you and your pets will be,” said Kathleen Labrada with Miami-Dade County Animal Services.

The Miami-Dade Department of Health also said an otter tested positive for the rabies virus. That otter bit an elderly man in Palmetto Bay before it died.

David McDonald who was attacked by the rabid otter said he was coming home from work when he spotted it by his front door. He tried to scare it away, but it attacked him.

“The otter was in the walkway between me and the house, so I was almost in the door, and it came back and bit me on my foot,” McDonald said. “I just wanted people in the area to know and be warned, that’s all.”

McDonald and at least three other people exposed to the virus were later treated.

Including the otter case, this is the ninth rabid animal found in Miami-Dade County.

“Rabies typically presents itself in unusual or erratic behavior,” Labrada said, “so animals behaving aggressively or animals that are typically nocturnal being out during the daytime or aggressively approaching humans.”

The alert will be in place until Jan. 19, unless other rabid animals are found.

“I just continue my game as far as checking everything on a daily basis when the kids are going to go out. Make sure the yard is safe, that no raccoons are around,” said Torres. “I don’t let them out at night.”

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and can be fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans.

If you believe your pet has been bitten by a wild animal, health officials advise you seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Miami-Dade Animal Services.

State health officials listed the following safety precautions area residents should observe:

  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter
  • Do not leave food sources out for wildlife such as pet food or unsecured garbage
  • Avoid contact with stray and feral animals
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas

For further information, click here. You may also call the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County at 305-324-2400 or Animal Services at 311.

For a list of wildlife trappers, click here.

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