Rabid Racoons Found at Mason; Most Cats Are Safe

Posted: February 14, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

In late January a racoon that was behaving strangely–staggering, foaming at the mouth, and acting aggressive–was found on the Fairfax campus. The University Police were alerted and because of the animal’s behavior the racoon was shot. An investigation by the animal control authorities determined that the racoon was rabid. A second rabid racoon was recently found and shot by Fairfax City officials close to the northern border of campus.

As a result of these incidents, the Safety Office encourages people to be careful when they encounter any animal, either on or off campus. Do not take chances with any animal, especially one that is behaving in an unusual manner. In the event that an animal that seems to be ill or behaving strangely, call the University Police Department’s nonemergency number at x32810 and report the incident.

Although there is a large cat population on the Fairfax Campus, most have had three-year rabies and distemper vaccines and have also been neutered, according to Colleen Bauer, a member of George Mason’s Cat Coalition. Cats that the coalition has trapped and taken care of can be identified by the snip at the tip of one ear; the tip is missing. The coalition currently has approximately 50 cats under its care and always keeps alert for newborns and newcomers so they can also be trapped and inoculated.

“Over the seven years that the coalition has been active, nearly 300 cats have been cared for,” says Bauer. “The number would have been far greater had we not worked so hard to neuter the population and to find homes for as many as possible.” If a cat is found that has intact ear tips, contact Bauer at x 32462 or cbauer@gmu.edu.

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