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Pleasanton bat tests positive for rabies

City offers tips to prevent confrontations with wild animals

The Pleasanton Police Department Animal Services Unit reports that a live bat collected from a Pleasanton residence on Oct. 8 has tested positive for the Rabies virus, marking the second positive Rabies test from a bat in the region this year.

Because bats that are common in the Bay Area and California do not normally attack human beings, the public health threat is low. However, positive test results serve an important reminder to prevent contact with bats and other wild animals that may carry the Rabies virus. These include raccoons, skunks, foxes, bobcats and coyotes, all commonly encountered in Pleasanton.

Pet owners are encouraged to follow the guidelines below to reduce a possible exposure to Rabies and other diseases carried by wild animals:

* Humans should ensure they and their pets do not come into contact with a bat.

* Bats seen during the daytime should be reported to the Police Department or the Alameda County Vector Control.

* Do not try to collect or capture a bat. If a bat is found in a building, isolate the bat in a room and call the Police Department or the Alameda County Vector Control for its removal.

* Ensure that all window screens are intact and do not have holes that can allow access into the building by insects or other animals.

* Do not feed pets or other animals outside (including feral cats) and remove outside water bowls each night. An open food source attracts all types of animals, many of which could carry the Rabies virus and could infect pets if confronted.

* Do not leave outside garage or storage room doors open. The odor of food attracts animals to these areas, often creating a confrontation between the wild animal and people or their pets. Wild animals will destroy property to access a food source.

* Close all pet doors into the house at night. Some wild animals are not bashful in trying to obtain food and will enter homes even when people and pets are inside.

* Harvest all fruits and vegetables as soon as they are ripe. Do not allow these food sources to sit on the ground as raccoons, rats, opossums, and other wild animals are attracted to this food source.

* Thoroughly clean any areas where food or beverages have spilled, or where animals have been fed, so wild animals are not attracted to the remaining scraps or crumbs.

* Thoroughly clean any area where pets have defecated. The scent of fecal matter attracts other animals.

* Utilize sturdy trash or recycling containers which have a self closing and sturdy lid.

For additional questions, call the Pleasanton Police Department Animal Services Unit at 931-5226.

— Dolores Fox Ciardelli


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