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Rabid cat piques disease concern

BUFORD - Gwinnett police are reminding people about the dangers of handling strange animals after a rabid cat was found wandering Buford last week.

Animal control officers found the 3-month-old calico cat near Friar Tuck Lane on Dec. 12. An examination revealed the animal was infected with rabies, police said.

The sick feline has triggered police concern.

Office David Schiralli, Gwinnett police spokesman, urges anyone bitten or scratched by an animal in the Buford area to contact Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement at 770-339-3200, ext. 5576.

"Stay away from any unknown animals, especially wildlife," said Schiralli. "A rabid animal may act tame. They may also display strange or unusual behavior."

Infected animals might act aggressive, avoid food and water, foam at the mouth or have trouble moving, Schiralli said.

Police offer tips to help families avoid rabies infections:

' Have pets vaccinated regularly.

' Keep pets on their home property.

' Don't leave garbage or pet food outside.

' Never house wild animals such as raccoons, foxes or skunks.

' Teach kids not to play or tease wild animals.

Further information on rabies and rabid animals is available through the Gwinnett County Health Department.

Contact spokesman Vernon Goins at 678-442-6909 or vggoins@dhr.state.ga.us