BIRDSBORO, PA – A stray cat in Douglassville tested positive for rabies on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 following its pick up by an animal control officer of the Animal Rescue League of Berks County. This is the second cat that the ARL has picked up from Amity Township in four months that has tested positive for the rabies virus. The cats were found approximately five miles apart, and it is unknown whether the cats may have had contact with each other or a common infected source.

As a contracted provider of animal control services for Amity Township, an ARL officer was dispatched to the 100 block of Browns Mill Road during the evening on Sunday, March 24 to investigate a report of a cat who was lying in a back yard and was thought to be injured. Upon investigation, the ARL officer discovered no injury and instead observed typical behavior for a rabid animal, including staggering and the cat’s inability to keep its balance. The cat was captured without incident, taken to the Animal Rescue League, and was euthanized to be tested for the rabies virus. The test results came back positive on Wednesday, March 27. To the ARL’s knowledge, the cat, who was described as an orange tabby cat, has not transmitted the virus to any other humans or animals; however, both the ARL and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture have dispatched a domestic animal health inspector to the area to investigate and notify any residents who may have come into contact with the cat about the rabies diagnosis.

Rabies symptoms vary significantly by species. If you live in the Douglassville area and note an animal acting strangely, please contact the ARL immediately at 610-373-8830. For further details on the rabies virus, including how it’s transmitted, its effects on animals and humans, as well as how to identify a rabid animal, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/index.html. It is recommended that anyone who may have had contact with this cat, or another animal who is displaying rabid symptoms, should contact his or her healthcare provider immediately. If left untreated, rabies is a deadly disease in humans.

To minimize exposure to rabies and other risks, the ARL recommends that all pet owners should keep their pets from freely roaming outdoors. Further, the ARL is reminding all pet owners on the importance of their pets receiving a rabies vaccine regularly as per their veterinarian’s recommendation to keep their pets safe. To help the residents of Amity Township, the ARL will conduct a $15 rabies vaccine clinic for Amity Township residents only next Friday, April 5 from 5-7PM at the shelter, located at 58 Kennel Road in Birdsboro. To register for this clinic, please visit www.berksarl.org/amity.