Yates County Public Health officials remind the public to take steps to protect family and domestic animals from rabies in light of a recent positive rabies test from a racoon. 

Yates County had its first animal in 2019 test positive for rabies last week. If you or your pet has contact with a wild animal there is a chance that the animal could spread the rabies virus. Animals most likely to carry rabies include raccoons, fox, bats, skunks, opossum, and feral cats.

Here is what you need to know to stay safe:

• Dogs, cats, ferrets, and livestock should be vaccinated against rabies. Having your animal up-to-date on rabies vaccine could save their life.

• Do not leave pet food outside. It will draw animals like raccoons into your yard. Bird feeders can also attract unintended wildlife.

• If sick acting wildlife comes into your yard, bring children and pets inside and let the animal wander away. If the animal does not wander off and is threatening, notify Yates County Animal Control through the Yates County Sheriff’s Office at 315-536-4438.

• If a person or pet is bitten by a wild animal, contact Yates County Public Health to find out what needs to be done to keep your family healthy. Public Health may need to test the animal to determine if it has rabies.

• If you find a bat in the room with a pet or child who was alone, or awaken to find a bat in the room where you were sleeping, try to catch the bat, and call Public Health.

To keep your family safe, avoid contact with wildlife, keep your pets vaccinated, and report exposure to wild animals or stray pets to Yates County Public Health. Contact Public Health at 315-536-5160, or after hours call the Sheriff’s Office at 315-536-4438 and ask for the Public Health staff person on call.

The next Yates County Public Health free rabies clinic will be from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 5 at the Yates County Maintenance Garage, 415 Liberty St., Penn Yan. For more information about rabies, or to find the 2019 Rabies Clinic Schedule visit www.yatescountypublichealth.org.