Animal Control reports two raccoon bite incidents

CRYSTAL LAKE – The Animal Control division of the McHenry County Department of Health urges residents to adopt a “hands-off” approach to local wildlife.

In separate incidents, Animal Control has taken reports of two residents who recently were bit by raccoons after individuals left out food. One individual is undergoing rabies prophylaxis treatment, according to a health department news release.

Wild animals are attracted to homes by food and shelter. Residents can cut their risks of structural damage, home invasion and other problems by removing these temptations.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources offers these tips:

• Do not encourage wildlife (squirrels, raccoons) by feeding or leaving food for them.

• Don’t allow bird food to accumulate on the ground.

• Don’t place food scraps in gardens or compost bins.

• Keep pet food and water containers indoors, especially at night.

• If residents have fruit trees, harvest or dispose of fruit when it is ripe.

• Use metal or durable plastic trash containers.

According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wild animals account for nine of 10 rabies cases in the United States, and raccoons make up almost half of those.

Most raccoons are healthy and harmless, but people should never touch or approach a wild raccoon, and residents should definitely not feed them, experts say.

To learn more, visit the University of Illinois Extension’s “Living with Wildlife in Illinois” website at web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife.

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