Suwannee Co., FL - An attack by a rabid raccoon against two young girls has prompted a new rabies alert in Suwannee County, Florida.
"I was just looking at it. It was curled up in a ball making a whimpering noise," said Katie Dunnigan, one of the girls who were attacked by the raccoon. "Then it stood up and kind of growled at us so I backed up a little bit and it came right through the fence at us."
The raccoon chased the two girls through their own yard. They would have been victims of a vicious attack, but their two dogs saved the girls by killing the wild animal.
"Yes but unfortunately (the dogs) probably feel like their being punished because we had to quarantine them for 45 days," said Tim Dunnigan, the father of the girls.
Now Health Officials in Suwannee County, Florida have issued a rabies alert around the Dunnigan families house which is South East of Branford along the Santa Fe River. That area covers two miles West of County Road 49 and south of 296th Street.
Residents are asked to Avoid contact with free roaming animals. Not to leave food outside and secure their garbage cans. And to make sure pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations.
Health officials are also asking residents to keep their domesticated animals on their own property.
As for the Dunnigan family, the girls have to go through a series of painful precautionary shots. But they say being healthy for the holidays is what's important.
"I was shaken for a while. That was very, very scary for both of us," said Katie Dunnigan.
The rabies alert will last for 60 days unless another incident occurs in the area.