It was an unseasonably warm December day for Southwestern Ontario. A beautiful afternoon to be outside, and that’s exactly where Charlie and Abby wanted to be. They were in the kitchen, toenails clicking as they circled and shifted, their whining breath fogging the glass of the back door. Jane finished putting away the last of the clean dishes and folded the tea towel over the oven handle.
“Hang on you two. I’m coming,” she said.
She looked out the door, and saw what it was that had the dogs so worked up. Len, the neighbourhood bunny stalker, was on the roof of the shed. He was stretched out in all his orange tabby cat glory, his eyes closed against the warm sun. Jane opened the sliding back door and the dogs took off as if someone had shot a starter’s gun. Len jerked his head in their direction, leaped to the fence and disappeared into the neighbouring yard. Charlie and Abby skid just short of the fence, barking like mad fools.
“They look quite pleased with themselves,” Jane thought as she closed the door and turned back to her dinner preparations.
Minutes later, a fierce noise erupted in the yard.
“Ugh – what are those two up to now?” she wondered.
She quickly realized it was not their usual sound of alarm, like when someone walked by the side gate. This barking was much more intense. Then, a third voice was thrown into the mix; it was high pitched and hissing.
“Oh no – Len!” Jane ran to the back door.
But it wasn’t Len.
It was a raccoon, and there was a lot of blood.
This story is fictional, but based on an incident that played out in Hamilton earlier this month. On December 2, two dogs had a significant altercation with a raccoon that was later confirmed positive for rabies. Five days after this, three more rabies positive raccoons were confirmed in the area. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), distributes wildlife rabies vaccine baits in specific areas, to help protect our wildlife against rabid raccoons that cross the border into Canada. MNRF initiated hand and aerial baiting in the Hamilton area on December 7.
What steps can you take to avoid exposure where you live?
1. avoid contact with potentially rabid wildlife such as skunks, fox, raccoons and bats
2. keep your pets up to date on their rabies vaccinations
Rabies is a fatal disease – please protect yourself and your pets!