On Thursday, December 25, 2014, a dog owner living at 930 80 Foot Road in Bartow heard his 4-month-old puppy outside yelping. The dog's owner ran outside and observed a raccoon attacking the puppy. The dog's owner shot and killed the raccoon and called PCSO.
Polk County Sheriff’s Animal Control Officers responded to impound the raccoon, which was then sent to the State Laboratory for rabies testing. The raccoon was confirmed positive for rabies on Tuesday, December 30, 2014. The Florida Department of Health in Polk County has been notified of the exposure. The puppy had not been vaccinated and was signed over to Animal Control by the owner.
The first case of rabies was confirmed on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This case involved a raccoon fighting with dogs in 900 block of Campbell Avenue in Lake Wales.
The second case was confirmed on Friday, May 9, 2014, after a bat was found isolated inside a family residence on the 1100 block of Clinton Street in Bartow.
The third case was confirmed on Wednesday, December 17, 2014, and involved a dog fighting with a raccoon in the 8000 block of Holly Ridge Drive, Lakeland.
The fourth case was confirmed on Friday, December 19, 2014, and involved a victim attacked by a fox in the 14000 US Hwy 98 North in Lakeland.
Residents are reminded that raccoons and bats are among the mammals considered to be high risk species or “rabies vector species” (RVS). However, please do not approach any animal which is acting in an unusual or suspicious manner. If you think you or your pet has had an “exposure,” please contact the PCSO Animal Control Section at 863.499.2600.
For more information on Rabies, please visit: http://www.polksheriff.org/InsidePCSO/LE/SOD/BOSO/AC/Pages/RabiesandYou.aspx