Niagara County Department of Health Reports Rabid Raccoon in the Town of Lockport

The Niagara County Department of Health (NCDOH) confirmed a rabid raccoon in the Town of Lockport.  United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) submitted a specimen for surveillance purposes, and the specimen was confirmed positive for Rabies on February 13, 2024 by New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Center Rabies Laboratory. 

Bats, raccoons, skunks, and fox are all common wildlife carriers of the rabies virus.  It is possible that a rabid animal can shed (share) the virus by direct contact before symptoms appear visible.  A rabid animal can only be confirmed by submitting a laboratory sample. 

Animal rabies continues to be a serious public health concern in Niagara County.  Rabies is a viral disease that nearly always results in death of the animal that is not adequately protected with a rabies vaccination. 

The Niagara County Department of Health would like to remind County residents of the following precautions to prevent exposure to rabies from wildlife and domestic animals:

  • Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals, stray dogs or feral cats
  • Be sure your dogs and cats are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and humans. Protect pets with rabies vaccination to reduce your risk of exposure to rabies. Dogs and cats that receive their first rabies vaccine are protected for a one-year period. A dog or cat’s second and subsequent vaccination will protect from rabies for up to three years. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept indoors. By law all cats, dogs, and ferrets must have current rabies vaccinations from four months of age and on. The Niagara County Department of Health conducts free rabies clinics. The dates are posted on our website as clinics established.
  • Keep family pets indoors at night. Do not leave them outside unattended or let them roam free.
  • Don’t attract wild animals to your home or yard. Keep your property free of stored bird seed or other foods which may attract wild animals. Feed pets indoors. Tightly cover, or put away garbage cans. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap your chimney with screens.
  • Encourage children to immediately tell adults if they are bitten by any animals. Tell children not to touch any animals they do not know.
  • If a wild animal is on your property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors and alert neighbors that are outside. You may contact a nuisance wildlife control officer who will remove the animal for a fee; or if there is danger, you can call your local law enforcement agency.
  • If your pet has been in a fight with another animal, wear gloves to handle it. Isolate it from other animals and people for several hours. Call your veterinarian. Your vaccinatedpet will need a booster dose of rabies vaccine within five days of the exposure. Unvaccinated animals exposed to a known or suspected rabid animal must be confined for six months or humanely euthanized.

Report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to the Niagara County Department of Health Environmental Division at (716) 439-7444.  Further information on rabies can be obtained from the Niagara County Department of Health at (716) 439-7444 or