Dog bite raises rabies concerns


A recent incident in the Finger Lakes region reminds residents of the dangers of rabies exposure, even when it’s someone’s pet.

The Tompkins County Health Department was looking for a dog that bit a person at the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve in Ithaca.

Officials say the dog bit a person Wednesday August 24 around 2:30 p.m. halfway between the first and second dams. The site is located off Giles Street.

In a health alert issued by the Ministry of Health on August 29, the dog in question is described as one of two medium-to-large sized black dogs who were walked on a leash. The person controlling the dogs was described as a white man with dreadlocks. He was accompanied by a woman on a walk.

Kathy Whyte/WNBF News

Kathy Whyte/WNBF News

Health Ministry officials said they needed to check the dogs’ vaccination status. Health officials said that in addition to determining whether the dog that bit the victim was up to date on rabies vaccinations, they wanted to check the overall health of the biting dog through home observation. over a period of ten days.

The statement says that if the dog can be located and the Tompkins County Health Department finds it healthy, the risk of rabies infection can be ruled out and post-exposure rabies treatment for the bitten person may not be necessary.

Rabies concerns in Tompkins County can be directed to the Division of Environmental Health at (607) 274-6688. Staff are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the number to take calls related to rabies and bites.

Health officials are reminding the public of the importance of having bites checked as soon as possible to determine if post-exposure treatment for rabies is needed. Pet owners are asked to keep their pets informed of the shootings. People should not go near animals they don’t know and never go near wild animals.

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