Northampton man attacked by a possibly rabid raccoon

One to three cases of human rabies is reported in the U.S. each year.

LEEDS, Mass. (WWLP) – Residents in one Leeds neighborhood are on the lookout for a rabid raccoon.

Marlene Childs told 22News her neighbor was walking his dog Saturday, when a raccoon bit his leg. She said the man living in this home on East Center Street was attacked by the suspected rabid raccoon in his backyard. Now she’s scared to walk her dog.

“Until I know that animal has been either captured or put down I won’t walk her, I’m afraid,” said Childs.

Northampton Police did not find the raccoon. The Animal Control Officer can’t confirm whether the animal had rabies.

“An animal can be aggressive for many different reasons, but usually though there isn’t much concern when you see a wild animal you usually just stay away and they’ll mind their own businesses,” said Shayla Howe, Northampton Animal Control Officer. “This is really a rare thing to happen.”

Howe told 22News an animal with rabies is typically lethargic, shows aggression, and moves poorly. Rabies is almost always fatal without a vaccination. A rabid animal typically dies within 10 days of contracting the disease.

Rabies cases are rare in humans. One to three cases are reported in the U.S. each year.