Oxford officials are warning people to keep a close eye on pets and small children in the area of Governor's Hill Road after an aggressive raccoon forced its way inside a home and attacked a dog Friday.
Town officials are taking the situation very seriously; they issued a Code Red Emergency Notification to residents, which says: "If you see a raccoon in this area, please dial 911 immediately. Do not attempt to chase the animal or subdue it. The behavior exhibited by this raccoon is typical of rabid animals. Please keep your pets and small children in the house until further advised. Thank you."
Animal Control Officer Sandy Merry said the raccoon ripped open a screen door to attack the dog in front its owner Friday afternoon. The dog sustained several large scratches, and the raccoon ran out of the house, Merry said. It has not been seen since although animal control officials and others searched for more than two hours.
"We believe that the animal is rabid and therefore did not travel far," she said, adding that several people searched a wide area for hours Friday but did not locate the raccoon.
The homeowner, whose house was filled with blood splatter and animal saliva, immediately took his dog to the veterinarian, Merry said. The dog was up-to-date with its rabies shots and is expected to be OK; it is receiving treatment for rabies as a precaution, she said.
Merry said the situation highlights the need for pet owners to keep their animals up-to-date on their rabies shots.
She said anyone who sees a rabid raccoon should not call the animal control office because it is only staffed during emergencies on the weekend so the message may not be received right away. People should call the Oxford Resident Trooper's Office at 203.888.4353; calls roll over to Troop A in Southbury when nobody is in the office. (Temple's message to residents suggested calling 911.)
Editor's Note: Merry did not want to release the address of the homeowner, but Oxford Patch has learned that the incident occurred at 89 Governor's Hill Road.