State and county authorities are searching for the owner of a black Labrador retriever that encountered a raccoon last week on the Panhandle Trail near McDonald.
The raccoon tested positive for rabies Thursday after a game commission officer was called to trap the animal on the trail. Authorities from the state Department of Agriculture and Allegheny County Health Department are now looking for the owners of the black lab, which apparently fought with the raccoon Tuesday night, because the pet might be infected.
Dave Zazac, a spokesperson for the county Health Department, said a witness caught the “tail-end of the encounter” and called authorities to report the condition of the raccoon. The owner of the dog, however, left the scene because they appeared to be “shaken up.”
“We have no idea where they are from,” Zazac said.
He said it is important for the dog’s owners to contact the state or county immediately in case the animal is infected. If you know who owns this black lab, call the state Department of Agriculture at 724-443-1585 or the county Health Department at 412-687-2243.
This is the second rabid raccoon reported in Allegheny County this year, county Health Director Bruce Dixon said.
“Spring is the time when owners can help prevent encounters with increasingly active wildlife and stray animals,” Dixon said. “Avoid contact with them and call 911 or the local animal control service. Raccoons have the highest incidence of wildlife rabies in the state. It is very important to have your dogs and cats vaccinated for rabies to prevent this disease.”