On July 12, 2022, a rabid raccoon was recovered from the vicinity of Walsh Drive in Mahwah after an altercation with a family pet.  

We are advising you of this incident to underscore the importance of keeping your pets’ rabies vaccinations up to date and, to encourage you to keep yourself and your pets a safe distance from wildlife.

State law requires that all animal bites and scratches be reported within twelve hours to the local Health Department in the municipality where the bitten person resides.   The law includes reporting to your Health Department even if you are bitten by your own pet. 

 If a dog or cat gets into a confrontation with a wild animal, the pet must be confined for a period of ten days to observe for symptoms of rabies.   If available for testing, the wild animal involved in the incident will be euthanized and sent to the lab to test for rabies.    In incidents where the animal is not available for observation or testing, the local health department will provide guidance on the necessity of post-exposure rabies treatment. 

Please remember:  once symptoms of rabies develop, there is no effective treatment and the disease is always fatal.   Fortunately, post-exposure rabies treatment is effective in preventing rabies, if given in a timely manner following exposure to a rabid animal.  

If you have any questions pertaining to the transmission of rabies or a potential exposure, you are encouraged to call the Mahwah Health Department at 201-529-5757 option 2.