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Officials warn of possible rabies cases in Tompkins County

The coyote attacked dogs and people in the Monkey Run Nature Area.
Damian Dovarganes
AP News
The coyote attacked dogs and people in the Monkey Run Nature Area.

A coyote in Dryden and a group of baby raccoons in Lansing could put humans and pets at risk of contracting rabies, according to public health officials in Tompkins County

On Tuesday, Tompkins County Whole Health said that a potentially rabid coyote had recently attacked multiple people and dogs in the Monkey Run Nature Area in Dryden.

Rabies is a fatal disease that usually spreads from animals to humans through bites and scratches. Treatment immediately following exposure can stop the disease from taking root.

Officials advised the public to stay away from the Monkey Run area and to report any sightings of the coyote. They said pet owners should make sure all animal vaccinations are up to date and to keep dogs on leashes when hiking.

The same day, the department announced another risk of rabies exposure from a litter of baby raccoons housed by a Lansing resident after the death of the raccoons’ mother.

Whole Health Commissioner Frank Kruppa said situations like this should always be handled by professionals.

“Certified wildlife rehab specialists are vaccinated for rabies and are prepared to handle rabies-vector species such as raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats,” he said in a statement.

Four out of the five raccoons have been tested for rabies. Three of the animals tested negative and one had inconclusive results. The department said definitive results won’t be available for days. The fifth raccoon was not recovered.

Officials urged people who are concerned they have been exposed to rabies to contact the health department at 607-274-6688.