Mount Pleasant — Rabid raccoons attacked two residents Sunday, stirring concern for rabies. A woman was bitten and a man was chased up a dock.
Police are asking the public to be on the lookout for as many as three of the black-masked animals in the Coleman Boulevard area, including a raccoon that alarmed people in an apartment complex.
The woman was bitten in the late morning when she stood from the side step of her Provincial Circle home to get a better look at what she thought was a neighbor's cat. The raccoon charged her and bit her on the thigh, according to a police report. Meanwhile, a raccoon emerged at dawn near trash cans at the Charleston Harbor Hilton Marina dock entrance and ran after a man, according to Sgt. Steve Meadows.
"The raccoon chased him up the dock, where he fell approximately halfway up the incline," the report states. After the man fell, the raccoon attacked and jumped him. The man pushed it off. He had a cut on his hand but wasn't sure if it came from a bite. A third raccoon was spotted acting oddly at Harbor Point apartments but didn't threaten anyone.
Rabies is a potentially fatal infectious disease spread by saliva. It often is spread to domestic animals from wild animals such as raccoons or foxes near developed areas and spread to humans by bites. Persons exposed to a rabid animal must begin a series of shots that costs more than $1,500.
Symptoms in animals include disorientation, stumbling, falling and foaming at the mouth. Health officials warn people to stay away from domestic animals acting wild or wild animals acting relatively tame.
Meadows said Animal Control officers are trying to locate and capture aggressive animals by setting traps and increasing patrols in the areas where they were seen. The public is asked to be aware of the sightings and to report any aggressive or unusual animal behavior to Animal Control. Meadows said residents should not approach the animals.
He reminded residents to:
• Make sure your pet immunizations are up to date.
• Not leave food out overnight.
• Not feed stray animals or wildlife.
• Report any animal acting in an unusual or aggressive manner immediately.