Rabies scare in Hanover County

DOSWELL, VA (WWBT) - A rabies scare in Hanover County after a Doswell woman finds a rabid bat in her yard. Animal Control says cases like this are on the rise.

Luckily the bat did not bite anyone but Animal Control is using this close call as a warning - if you come into contact with a bat - you should get tested for rabies.

Judy Vanwingerden was in her backyard with her children when her daughter found a bat in the grass near their pool.

"I was pushing my baby on the swing," Vanwingerden said. "(My daughter) called me over saying, 'Mom! A bat!' and I came over and it was just screaming and literally just lying there on the floor. It was tame, wasn't trying to fly or anything."

Her children wanted to keep it as a pet but Judy says she noticed something wasn't quite right with the bat right away.

"I was like, 'this bat has rabies'," she said. "Normally you don't find a bat on the ground just sitting there screaming, letting us. Normally it gets scared and they'll fly away, but no, this bat just kind of laid there on the ground and let me scoop him right up."

Kevin Kilgore at Hanover County Animal Control says this is something he's seeing more often. He is getting more and more calls about people running into problems with wildlife.

"The wildlife have gotten used to living in the green areas of our suburban neighborhoods,"  Kilgore said. "Raccoons, foxes, even the coyotes have gotten used to living in the green areas of our suburban neighborhoods."

Bats fly around Judy's home all the time. She grew up in the country and says she knew not to touch the bat - and that may have prevented her from getting rabies.

"We kind of smushed him in the Tupperware," Vanwingerden said. "We don't want to touch him, of course, because you never know, which is good we didn't because he had rabies!"

Rabies is fatal 100% of the time if it's left untreated, but there is a series of shots you can get to treat it.

It may go without saying, but keep any rabid animal away from children or pets - and make sure your pet is vaccinated for rabies.

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