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KENDALL (CBSMiami) — A day after a rabies alert was issued in Miami-Dade County, health officials are informing the public on how to keep their pets safe.

It’s the first time in more than 15 years that an animal has tested positive in Miami-Dade County.

Lin Roth is not taking any chances when it comes to her collie, Michael.

“I protect him as much as I can, he’s very valuable to me,” she said.

Veterinarian Ian Kupkee says no pet owner should take a chance.

“To not vaccinate your dog against rabies is almost criminally negligent because you’re putting yourself and every body at risk by having an unvaccinated dog,” said Dr. Kupkee.

The Florida Department of Health issued the rabies alert for the Kendall area after a raccoon tested positive on Tuesday. This is the first confirmed rabid animal this year in the county and the first rabid raccoon identified in Miami-Dade since 2001.

The rabies alert will last for 60 days and includes the following boundaries:

• SW 88th Street to the North;
• SW 95th Street to the South;
• SW 107th Avenue to the East; and
• SW 117th Avenue to the West.

“Around here, the wooded areas, the opossums, you never know, it might end up biting him,” said Roth.

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm-blooded animals and humans. Officials urge everyone to never feed stray or wild animals — and make sure to keep your pets close.

“Don’t let loose without a leash and make sure your dog is properly vaccinated,” said Roberta, who vaccinated her dogs Zoe and Sissy. “Rabies is a horrible disease.”

The DOH recommends if you haven’t already, vaccinate your pets and keep them up to date.


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