JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) –Onslow County Animal Services (OCAS) said Tuesday it had received confirmation from the North Carolina State Laboratory that a cat tested positive for rabies after it scratched three children in Jacksonville on Sunday.
Investigators say a feral cat attacked two young girls near 433 Western Boulevard in Jacksonville on Sunday evening.
The same cat later attacked a young boy outside a bowling center in the area, but the boy’s father was able to incapacitate the cat, which was suspected of having rabies, while OCAS officers responded to the scene.
Animal service officials say both incidents were unprovoked.
The young boy’s father Kaleb Duncan says his son is recovering. He began his first round of rabies vaccine Tuesday. He will return three more times to the doctor for more.
Duncan said no blame is geared towards the Bowlarena, where the incident happened, but stresses the fact people should avoid feeding stray animals.
“We are wanting for the people in the area to stop feeding the stray animals and make contact with animal services so the[y] can be dealt with properly so another incident like [this] does not happen again,” said Duncan.
The cat was collected and sent to the North Carolina State Laboratory, where lab employees confirmed the cat was rabid.
According to OCAS, the three people who were attacked by the rabid cat are currently being treated with proper vaccines and medical care.
Onslow County’s Assistant County Manager and Interim Health Department Director, Sheri Slater, warned, “We advise that residents be vigilant and cautious of unknown animals. If you have come in contact with an animal that you perceive to be rabid consult with your doctor immediately.”
The Director of OCAS, Howard Martin, said, “We advise residents that have pets to keep current on their rabies vaccination; vaccinating pets and staying away from wild animals are the best ways to prevent being exposed to rabies.”
Howard says this is the second feral cat in Onslow County to test positive for rabies.
OCAS offers a Rabies Clinic for pets every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from noon to 5 p.m., at 244 Georgetown Road in Jacksonville.
No appointment is necessary, and rabies vaccines cost $10 per-pet. For more info on rabies vaccines, call Onslow County Animal Services at 910-455-0182, or call a veterinarian.
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