Some Leon County residents are worried about their safety and the safety of their pets after a rabies alert was issued for west Tallahassee. It came after a raccoon had tested positive for rabies.
West Tallahassee is currently seeing a rise in rabies cases, according to local officials. The affected area is south of Interstate 10 between Monroe Street and Capital Circle NW and SW.
Rabies is a viral disease that is fatal to humans and warm-blooded animals.
Some are concerned about how they will continue their daily routines without putting themselves in harm's way. Larreneka Wells say that the news of the rabies outbreak in her neighborhood terrifies her and forces her to take precautions with their pets.
Wells said that the news didn’t surprise her because she had seen more raccoons in her neighborhood. She said she would be changing her daily operations for herself and her pet.
“I will be much more cautious now, and I won't be walking her without a leash,” said Wells. “This is scary I won't be walking to take my trash out at night time anymore, and I will avoid the places that I have seen them frequent.”
She said something needs to be done in order for her to feel safe in her community again. She wants to see some type of frequent trash removal on Monroe Street because that's where she sees the raccoons the most, and it is near her home.
In 2018 Tallahassee faced a high number of rabies cases. According to the Florida Department of Health, rabies cases came primarily from bats, foxes and raccoons.
Florida ended 2018 with a total of 61 rabies-infected raccoon cases. There were 20 cases with bats and 10 with foxes.
Alysia Waugh, a Tallahassee resident near the affected area of the rabies alert, says that this alert raises a concern because she has a cat and doesn't want her cat to become infected. She will be changing her normal routine with her pet to help keep him safe.
“I won't be letting my cat out at night and will be letting him outside during the day. At night he will be in the house safe with me,” Waugh said.
She says that she will follow preventative measures to make sure that her cat doesn’t come in contact with a rabid animal. If her cat does come in contact with a rabid animal she does know the signs of an infected animal.
Some residents are prepared to keep themselves safe and aren't worried about the alert because they never have the opportunity to come in contact with rabid animals.
Janeacia Brown said she has known about the rabies alert and that she is not surprised.
“Where I'm from it’s common to see raccoons or even possums and you just know not to go near them and leave them alone,” said Brown.
She knows that rabid animals go through trash, so she tries to take her trash out during the day. If for some reason she has to take it out at night, she will bring a broom to protect herself.