(06/28/2018)
By Bob Weaver 2001

Calhoun school bus driver Bill Collins encountered a strange acting raccoon on his early route yesterday on lower Rowels Run, between Cremo and Goosenest Hill. DNR officer Tom Fox, who recovered the raccoon for testing, said it attacked the tires of the school bus. Collins said it was wallowing in a mud hole, biting at its tail, digging and falling over.

The behavior of the raccoon created serious concern since reports are surfacing in Calhoun and Wirt about rabid foxes and raccoons. Retired school bus driver Clyde Smith, who lives nearby, said a raccoon was killed three weeks ago that acted the same.

Local resident David Miller was summoned, shooting the animal. "It was walking around in a daze when I got there. There was a second dead coon near the road," he said, also taken by Tom Fox. The local health department was closed today and vet Dan Cain agreed to help process the testing of the head.

One of Calhoun's most noted woodsmen, Harold Stutler of Little Creek, told The Herald he is convinced rabies is spreading into the raccoon population, although there is insufficient validation through testing to declare the spread into Calhoun and Wirt Counties.

The recent killing of a fox near Little Creek proved positive for rabies, and health officials are continuing to evaluate the situation. (SEE earlier Hur Herald stories)

Calhoun Sheriff Allen Parsons said people need to vaccinate all their animals and pets against rabies and hunters and trappers should exercise care. "We don't want people to panic over this," he said.

Postscript: The tests proved negative for rabies.


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