Rabid raccoon killed in Delco

April 27, 2009 4:29:22 PM PDT
It is the fifth confirmed case of rabies in Delaware County this year.

Tom Czwalina and his brother Walt tried everything, but the raccoon that had his dog Daisy wouldn't go down. First, he tried a stick. Then he grabbed a metal engine stand.

"I picked it up and threw it down on the raccoon," said Tom.

Then Walt came running with the heavy artillery: a hand gun and a bow and arrow.

"I shot it three times at close range, right in the head," said Walt. "And the thing still wasn't dead."

He then shot three arrows into the raccoon. "Three bullets, three arrows and it was still struggling," he said.

They at least got the raccoon off Daisy and an animal control officer finished it off. The incident happened a couple of weeks after two dogs encountered a rabid fox in Radnor.

Despite the five cases so far this year in Delaware County, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture says it is not unusual. We are not seeing any kind of outbreak to be concerned about.

"These numbers are right on par where we usually are at this time of year," said Dr. Aliza Simeone, veterinarian from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services. "We're actually a little bit lower than last year."

Dr. Simeone investigates all rabies cases in the southeastern part of the state. She says raccoons are the most common carriers. And this time of year pets are outside and more likely to encounter wildlife.

That's why she says it's a good idea to make sure pet vaccinations are up to date. She also says people should avoid handling any wild animals.

"If you see any wildlife, you shouldn't handle it," she said. "If you have concerns you can call the Pennsylvania Game Commission, or in some municipalities, your local police for help."

Tom and Walt are lucky they weren't bitten. But they say they were determined to save Daisy.

"I don't know what I would do if I came home and my dog weren't there," said Tom.

Follow Action News on Twitter

Get Action News on your website

Follow Action News on Facebook

Click here to get the latest Philadelphia news and headlines from across the Delaware and Lehigh valleys.