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NEWS RELEASE: (Danville, Va.)  – The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District is advising the public residing near the Walmart on Mount Cross Road to keep their domestic cats contained within their property as efforts will be taken to corral a group of feral cats that may have had contact with the rabid fox.

Last weekend, the public was advised a rabid fox, roaming in the vicinity of Mount Cross Road and Tyler Avenue in Danville, had bitten at least two individuals. Anyone who may have been in contact with the fox or any other animal near Walmart on Mount Cross Road or near Tyler Avenue should contact the Pittsylvania-Danville at (434) 776-9800.

As a public health precaution, local animal control officers in collaboration with the Danville Police Department will be attempting to capture those cats in an effort to prevent further spread of rabies. Traps will be strategically placed in areas where the feral cats have been reported for the next three weeks. Cats that are captured will be temporarily held for 10 days at the Danville Area Humane Society.

Due to this trapping period, domestic cats that are not contained by their owners may inadvertently find the traps where they will then be transported to the local animal shelter. If any residents find they may be missing their pet, they are encouraged to contact the Danville Area Humane Society at (434) 799-5306.

Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal.  Any person or family pet bitten or scratched by an animal should be reported to the local health department in order to determine any risk of rabies exposure and to receive recommendations for medical care.

The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District encourages everyone to vaccinate their pets, to protect them, family members, loved ones and the community at large from rabies. Virginia law requires domestic animals to be vaccinated against rabies.

In addition to keeping pets vaccinated and keeping vaccinations current, take these steps to protect families and pets from exposure to rabies:

  • Avoid contact with wild animals, such as raccoons and skunks, or stray cats and dogs;
  • Do not feed wild animals or stray cats and dogs;
  • Report stray animals to your local animal control agency;
  • Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home; and
  • Keep pets confined to your property or walk them on a leash.

For additional information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/animal-contact-human-health/ or call the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District at (434) 766-9828.