WEIRTON - A raccoon found in the Cable Road area of Weirton has tested positive for rabies, according to information from the Hancock County Health Department.
The health department urges residents to be cautious when they are outside in the event wild animals are nearby. According to officials, rabies is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, skunks and foxes. Bats also can have the virus.
Cats, dogs and livestock can get rabies if they have not been vaccinated, officials stated.
Residents are asked to exercise caution in the event they observe an animal displaying strange behavior, especially those that usually are nocturnal, animals that are staggering when walking or animals that show no fear being around humans.
Those encountering such animals are asked to contact Hancock County Dispatch.
The health department also advises restaurants not to pick up for feed stray or wild animals, not to put out excess amounts of domestic animal food, fasten trash can lids securely, vaccinate your pets and keep shots up-to-date.
West Virginia Code requires that all dogs 6 months of age or older be licensed and vaccinated against rabies. Failure to properly vaccinate a dog or cat against rabies will result in a fine of up to $50 per animal.
To report animal bites contact one of the following numbers:
Hancock County Dog Warden (304) 564-3311 Ext 292
Hancock County Dispatch Office (304) 564-4100 or (304) 387-4100
Hancock County Health Department (304) 564-3343.