MONMOUTH — A raccoon that sneaked into a Main Street home over the weekend and startled a homeowner before killing her cat has tested positive for rabies.
Police Chief Kevin Mulherin said test results returned Wednesday confirmed the intruder had rabies. It is the second confirmed case of rabies in the area in as many weeks.
“There have been a couple cases in the area,” Mulherin said. “I wouldn’t say it’s prevalent, but it’s out there.”
The latest incident occurred around 4 p.m. Sunday when a raccoon entered a home at 1112 Main St. The animal got into the house through a pet entry on a screen door.
The homeowner was upstairs when she heard her cat making a loud noise, Mulherin said. The woman ran downstairs to see the raccoon and her cat fighting in the living room.
The homeowner grabbed a phone and ran into the bathroom, where she called police. Officer Mike Parshall and Animal Control Officer Michael Costello arrived to find the raccoon still in the living room and the woman in the bathroom, Mulherin said. Parshall and Costello cornered the raccoon near the door.
“(Parshall) Tasered him and rolled him out the door,” Mulherin said.
Parshall killed the animal once it was outside. Costello then removed the woman’s dead cat and cleaned the room to prevent spread of disease, Mulherin said. The cat’s remains were taken to an animal shelter to be cremated.
Parshall called Monmouth Rescue to check on the woman, whom Mulherin said was “distraught” over the events. The woman, who is in her 60s, did not go to the hospital.
In the previous confirmed rabies case in the area, a skunk that was threatening campers Aug. 10 at nearby Beaver Brook Campground in Wayne tested positive for the disease.
Town Manager Aaron Chrostowsky urged residents to avoid contact with wild animals and to make sure their pets are vaccinated against rabies, which often causes bizarre behavior.
Mulherin urged people to call police or the animal control officer if they see a wild animal behaving strangely.