MIDDLETOWN - More than a dozen wild animals tested positive for rabies in Middletown, and pet owners are being urged to take precautions.
The area typically sees a few cases of the brain-attacking disease each year, but the numbers this time are unprecedented.
"This is the most I've seen in the 15 years of doing this job," says animal control officer Robert Card. "They'll spin around in circles, they'll fall over, they'll look drunk... They'll be lethargic, they'll seizure and just generally not acting right."
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Card says 13 raccoons and one fox have recently tested positive for rabies. Two more raccoons, a groundhog, a bat and a feral cat are being tested now.
Officials say 90 percent of raccoons sent out for testing have come back positive.
Pet owners are being asked to vaccinate their dogs, cats and ferrets against the deadly disease, which is transmitted by saliva.
The U.S. Department of Health says wildlife should be enjoyed from a distance, and pets should be supervised to avoid contact with wild animals. Authorities also recommend keeping garbage secured, and not to leave pet food out overnight.