CHELSEA — Two cases of rabies have been reported in town, putting local animal owners on high alert.

The town of Chelsea’s Facebook page issued a warning Thursday morning, citing two confirmed cases of rabies near Nelson Road and Windsor Road.

“The (Maine Center for Disease Control) has requested that residents of Chelsea be notified of confirmed cases of rabies in a raccoon in the area of the Nelson Road and a fox in the area of the Windsor Road,” the post reads. “Residents in all areas of Chelsea should also be aware of the presence of rabies. If you suspect a wild animal to be acting strangely or may be infected with rabies please contact the Maine Warden Service.”

Chelsea Animal Control Officer Gretchen Patrick said two cases of rabies are not abnormal for this time of the year, as animals are more exposed to illnesses when they come out of hiding for winter. She said the case involving the fox was not confirmed, as far as she knew, and it could have been mange — a skin disease caused by parasitic mites that can make animals act strangely.

She said there should be no elevated alarm based on the two cases, because the town has a large land area and is home to a large number of animals.

“Chelsea is 18 square miles,” she said. “I’m sure there are other rabid animals.”

The Maine Center for Disease Control keeps a running tally of rabies cases by county, town and animal species. Kennebec County is updated to reflect only two cases, both stemming from raccoons in Chelsea and Winthrop. The Chelsea incident was recorded May 6, while the Winthrop incident was recorded March 29.

Rabies cases have been reported in other central Maine towns recently. The Times Record reported that a Bowdoinham a woman and her dogs were attacked by a rabid gray fox Tuesday night on Pond Road.

Sagadahoc County sheriff’s deputies were still at the Pond Road home when they got a call from a resident in nearby Bowdoin who reported having killed a fox after it chased and bit one of the caller’s dogs and tried to enter the his house. The Times Record reported that the second homeowner managed to close the door on the fox, pinning it, enabling the man’s son to beat the fox to death with the butt of an unloaded gun.

 

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