Peggy Coon's granddaughter made an unsettling discovery in her backyard.
"My 7-year-old granddaughter was playing out in the yard in her sandbox and was calling for us to come out -- that there was a baby raccoon under the evergreen tree," Coon said.
Turns out it wasn't a baby, but a sick raccoon, barely moving beneath the tree. Coon called police to her New Street home. The animal was euthanized -- and tested positive for rabies. That was at the end of March. Since then two other cases of rabid raccoons have been confirmed on Federal and High Streets. "Elizabeth had gone pretty close to it so thank heavens she didn't try to pet it or something," Coon said.
"We've encroached on their areas. They've encroached on ours. You can drive around the city anytime of day or night and see these animals moving around," said St. Albans Police Chief Gary Taylor.
Taylor said that while he's concerned, three cases does not constitute an epidemic. Rabid animals are an issue that the health department has been monitoring for years. "We're at 14 so far this year, which is right where we were at this time last year, so there's nothing unusual going on. Occasionally we do see pockets where there's more activity in one part of the state," said the Vt. Health Department's Patsy Kelso.
Franklin County tops the list with six cases so far this year. The remaining eight are spread throughout the state, with five Raccoons, six skunks, a horse, a fox and a bat carrying the deadly disease. Officials warn residents not to feed wild animals, to keep trash cans and compost containers tightly secured and avoid letting pets roam freely at night. "Any rabid animal is worrisome if it comes in contact with people or pets or livestock and so something every Vermonter should do is make sure that your pets and livestock are up to date on their rabies vaccines," Kelso said.
Health officials say you should never approach a wild animal that's acting strangely. Instead -- call the police or the rabies hotline: 1-800-4-RABIES
Wednesday, December 11 2013 5:19 PM EST2013-12-11 22:19:28 GMT
Police say they've caught the man wanted for three bank robberies in the Upper Valley. James Oberfeldt, 30, of Claremont, is currently jailed in Massachusetts on a drug charge. Police say he's been identifiedMore >>
Police say they've caught the man wanted for three bank robberies in the Upper Valley.More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 6:54 PM EST2013-12-11 23:54:10 GMT
Two men are behind bars after a burglary in St. Albans. Police arrested James Perron, 27, of St. Albans, and Eric Walsh, 34, Tuesday for allegedly stealing a safe containing $15,000 in cash. It happenedMore >>
Two men are behind bars in connection with a burglary in St. Albans.More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 7:53 PM EST2013-12-12 00:53:13 GMT
Two Plattsburgh State students are under arrest in connection with a brawl outside a fraternity house. It happened last month outside the Alpha Chi Rho (AXP) house on Brinkerhoff Street. Police say itMore >>
Authorities say allegations of a sexual assault in Plattsburgh led to a brawl. Now, some fraternity brothers are facing charges and more could be coming.More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 7:50 PM EST2013-12-12 00:50:40 GMT
Carbon monoxide poisoning killed a Georgia teen in his car last February. As a way to cope with his death, Logan Newell's family started a foundation in his honor with the goal of helping needy familiesMore >>
Carbon monoxide poisoning killed a Georgia teen in his car last February. As a way to cope with his death, Logan Newell's family started a foundation in his honor with the goal of helping needy families in the area.More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 4:59 PM EST2013-12-11 21:59:24 GMT
An update on that fatal accident Monday morning on the beltline in Burlington. Gregory Burt, 56, of Colchester, was killed when his car collided with a school bus. Police now say they have determined thatMore >>
An update on that fatal accident Monday morning on the beltline in Burlington.More >>
Wednesday, December 11 2013 9:45 AM EST2013-12-11 14:45:27 GMT
An upstate New York woman is recovering after she was attacked by a rabid bobcat. The 49-year-old woman said the bobcat pounced on her last Thursday when she was at the door of her Putnam home, whichMore >>
An upstate New York woman is recovering after she was attacked by a rabid bobcat.More >>