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Rabid Racoons: City or State Problem?

9:46 AM, Oct 26, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- If you call the Duval County Health Department for help with a rabid raccoon, you'll get one response.

"We don't offer any services for pick up," said Hilton Manuel.

If you call the city's Animal Care and Protective Services, you will get a different response.

PICTURES: Suspected Rabid Raccoon Scares First Coast Family

"When it becomes a public health issue we rely on the Health Department," said Scott Trebatoski.

Councilman Don Redman made some calls; he calls the process confusing.

"There needs to be a method into where it could be taken care of in a hurry if you have a dangerous animal on the street," said Redman.

It is complex and it is about cost. The Health Department is paid to control rabies and will deal with wildlife, like a rabid raccoon, only if there's a threat to public safety. Manuel is a rabies specialist with the Duval County Health Department.

"The only time the health department can get involved, actually and help and assist, is if you've been bitten, scratched or (had) saliva exposure to that wildlife," said Manuel.

The city is not paid, and its employees are not permitted, to trap these animals.

But for public health and safety reasons, the city will get involved if the Health Department requests it. Trebatoski is Director of Animal Care and Protective Services.

"I think people generally assume everything that goes on within the city boundaries is the city of Jacksonville's responsibility; that is not the case," said Trebatoski.

By state law, the responsibility of trapping wildlife, like a raccoon with rabies, belongs to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. If there's a problem with wildlife, that's who you call.

"You would either have to call wildlife or call a private trapper," said Manuel.

City of Jacksonville 904-630-2489 (City)










Duval County Health Department 904-253-1620

Fish And Wildlife  352-429-1037

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