Family Dogs Kill Rabid Raccoons in New Jersey

Camden County Health Department confirms two positive rabies cases.


A raccoon stuck in a Mt. Airy dumpster resists help from residents. Philadelphia also has a large raccoon population. Photos by Bradley Maule.

Camden County has put out two alerts regarding rabid raccoons in the past two days, serving as a cautionary tale for those who are drawn to the animals’ large eyes, expressive paws and comical presentation. The lesson? Stay away. Many raccoons carry rabies and pose a danger to both humans and domestic animals.

In both of these New Jersey cases — one in Haddon Township, one in Camden City — it was family dog vs. raccoon in the backyard. Though the dogs emerged victorious, both raccoons tested positive for rabies at the New Jersey Public Health & Environmental Laboratories in Trenton. One of the dogs had an up-to-date rabies vaccination, and so only had to get a booster shot. The other dog had not been vaccinated against rabies, so it will be confined and observed for six months.

Camden County’s public affairs spokesperson Dan Keashen says despite the two notices coming so close together, there has not been an uptick in rabies cases. “Our county is so diverse, from the Pine Barrens to Camden City, we do tend to see this kind of volume.” The department puts out a notice any time the the Camden County Health Department is notified by the Department of Health and Human Services that a raccoon has tested positive for rabies. There’s no obligation on the part of the County, but Keashen thinks it just makes sense. “From a public affairs point of view I think it’s helpful for residents, especially for people who have domestic animals out in their yards.”

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