Department of Health and Human Services
Christine Bongiorno, Director
27 Maple St.
Arlington, MA 02476
Arlington Police Department
Frederick Ryan, Chief of Police
112 Mystic St.
Arlington, MA 02474
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Contact: Christine Bongiorno
Arlington Department of Health and Human Services and Arlington Police Urge All Residents to Take Precautions around Wild Animals
Raccoon Tests Positive for Rabies
ARLINGTON — The Arlington Department of Health and Human Services and Arlington Police are urging all residents to take precautions when in proximity to wildlife.
Over the weekend a raccoon that bit two children and an adult tested positive for rabies.All three persons were treated at an area hospital. The incidents happened in the Morningside portion of the town, however, reports of sick animals have been received in all areas of Arlington.
“As the warm weather approaches, it’s vital that we remind our children not to approach or feed wild animals,” said Christine Bongiorno, Director of Health and Human Services for the Town of Arlington. “At the same time, it is equally important that pet owners make sure their cats, dogs, and other pets have up-to-date vaccinations.”
Rabies is a disease that affects mammals and is spread through the bite and saliva of an infected animal. You cannot tell if an animal has rabies by just looking at it. Infected animals may display erratic behavior, hyper salivation, impaired movement, seem as if “drunk” or paralyzed, or they may seem just fine. The disease will lead to the death of the animal. The only way to confirm that an animal is rabid is to test the animal’s brain tissue after death.
The Arlington Police Department and the Department of Health and Human Services urge all residents to take the following precautions to prevent the spread of rabies:
- Vaccinate your pets. State law mandates all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies. If your pet was previously vaccinated, check with your veterinarian to be sure the vaccination is current.
- Keep your garbage and compost covered at all times. Open garbage and fresh compost will attract wild animals.
- Do not feed or approach any wild animals and remind children to do the same.
- Monitor your young children and pets at all times that they are outdoors
- Immediately report to the Arlington Police Department at 781-643-1212 for:
- Any animal that displays the possible signs of rabies
- Human or pet interactions with wild mammals
- A scratch or bite from a wild or domestic animal
For more information about rabies in Massachusetts visit:
Or call the Arlington Animal Control Officer at 781-316-3950.