IML warns residents of rabies

The Iron Mountain Lake Police Department is encouraging residents not to feed wildlife after an aggressive raccoon attacked a dog and its owner Saturday.

The Iron Mountain Lake Police Department is warning residents to be watchful of wildlife after an incident with an aggressive raccoon Saturday morning.

Iron Mountain Lake Police Chief Tony Benson said rabies was a concern. He said they wanted to warn residents to be more careful with putting food out for their pets.

“We want the public to let us know if they see anything suspicious with wildlife,” said Benson. “We did call the Missouri Department of Conservation out and they said the raccoon would have to be sent off to be tested for rabies, due to the fact it was shot in the head.”

Benson said an Iron Mountain Lake resident called authorities after a raccoon repeatedly attacked their dog and then attempted to attack them.

“The homeowner did have a video of the raccoon trying to attack them and it was acting strangely,” said Benson. “The game warden did say there was something very odd about the animal’s behavior, but he couldn’t say one way or the other if it had rabies.”

Benson said it could have been a number of things, even getting into a beer or just injured. He added the raccoon was definitely aggressive.

“It attacked their dog and even tried to drag the dog back out of the house,” Benson said. “That is why we have a concern. There were some indicators in the video it was rubbing itself on things and other things.”

Benson stressed he just wants the community to aware of the situation because the indicators are there. There are lot of people who set out food for their dogs and feed wildlife which needs to stop.

In the early signs of rabies in raccoons they will begin to act disoriented and will appear to be partially paralyzed or sick, walking unsteadily or moving without apparent purpose. As the infection progresses raccoons can make unusual voices which can include chattering, screeching and other unusual sounds they don’t normally make.

In the final stages of a rabid raccoon that is close to death, they might have problems with moving and the hind legs may become paralyzed. The animals may drool and froth at the mouth, also known as foaming at the mouth.

It is important to avoid these animals and keep household pets from coming into contact with sick raccoons or any other wild animal with these symptoms.

Benson said if anyone sees a concern or if their animal is acting strange contact the police department at 573-431-3131 immediately so the issue can be addressed.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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