TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. –– The Tompkins County Health Department is seeking information on the person or persons that left a raccoon at the doors of Cornell University Hospital for Animals last week after the animal was determined to be rabid by the New York State Rabies Laboratory on Tuesday.

The rabid raccoon was dropped off in front of the animal hospital on July 23 at around 12 a.m. Health Department officials are looking to find out whether the person(s) responsible were potentially exposed to the rabies virus.

According to health officials, rabies is normally transmitted by the bite of a wild or domestic rabid mammal but can also occur if saliva from a rabid animal enters the body through a mucous membrane, a wound that bled within 24 hours previous to the exposure, or an older wound showing signs of a bacterial infection.

Anyone with information regarding this raccoon is urged to call the Tompkins County Environmental Health Division anytime at (607) 274-6688.

As a reminder, TCHD recommends not handling pets or objects that may be contaminated with saliva from a potentially rabid animal without wearing protective gloves and to wash your hands immediately with soap and water if you do touch the saliva and that a cut incurred while skinning a rabid mammal could also result in rabies transmission, as nervous tissue of an infected animal will carry the virus.

And for those that may encounter any injured or abandoned wildlife always contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator before handling them. Rehabilitators can be found here and on the NYS DEC website here.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com