Local animal control, health experts concerned after rabid attack

Lynchburg man attacked by cat last Friday said he's doing well

By Magdala Louissaint - Lynchburg Bureau Reporter

LYNCHBURG, Va, - Last Friday in a neighborhood near Langhorne Road in Lynchburg a man was attacked by a cat. He told 10 News he was walking out of his house at 6:15 Friday morning when the cat attacked him and ran after his 2 1/2- month-old English Bulldog.

"We were able to pick up the cat without incident and also take it to get it tested," Ryan Ball, chief animal warden for Lynchburg Animal Control, said.

Rabid cat attacks man, dog, puppy in Lynchburg

Test results came back positive for rabies. Animal Control believes the cat was infected through communal feeding.

"Anytime you have several different cats fighting for a food source. You'll have act scratches, cat bites and if the cats aren't rabies vaccinated, the spread of rabies can spread from one cat to another," Ball said.

Health experts want to remind the community, if you are feeding stray cats, it's your responsibility to make sure they are vaccinated for rabies.

"Feeding cats like that outside not only feeds the cats but it can also often attract raccoons and skunks, which are the main carriers of rabies," James Bowles, with the Lynchburg Health Department, said.

Lynchburg Animal Control says in the last year they've only had one cat that's been infected with rabies. They say it's not an epidemic, but to keep this from becoming a problem they ask you contact the Lynchburg Humane Society."

"It's called the trap, neuter, return or release program to where if you get a hold of them and have stray cats they'll trap. They'll have experts come out trap, neuter and release and they'll also give rabies vaccinations. That way we can lower this kind of problem that we have," Ball said.

Lynchburg police said this is still an ongoing investigation and will release new details in the future.

If you come across a rabid cat, Lynchburg animal control said are symptoms to look for: 
aggressive, walking around in circles or looks tired and hasn't moved in half a day, Then, call dispatch at 434-847-1602 or 911. 

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