Elmsford Police Shoot Rabid Cat After Attack

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The Westchester County Department of Health issued a rabies alert Tuesday in Elmsford.
The Westchester County Department of Health issued a rabies alert Tuesday in Elmsford. Photo Credit: Flickr user poenaru

ELMSFORD, N.Y. – A rabies alert was posted Tuesday by the Westchester County Department of Health after a police officer shot a stray cat who attacked him after trying to attack a man and woman in Elmsford.

The cat was spotted on Winthrop Avenue between White Plains Avenue and Payne Street on Friday. When Elmsford Police Department responded, the cat chased the officer into a neighbor's yard and attacked him. The cat bit the officer's leg as he tried to fend off the animal, police said. The officer shook the cat from his leg, but the animal pounced at the officer again, puncturing his skin with its teeth and claws.

According to Elmsford Mayor Robert Williams, the bitten officer was taken to Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in Sleepy Hollow.

"An officer got a few nasty bites and is being treated for rabies," Williams said Sunday night, before testing confirmed the cat had rabies. "You have to start the treatment right away while they are awaiting the results from the cat. He was released from the hospital later that day [Friday] and went home to rest. He returned to work the next day."

Health departmtent officials said there is no other known contact with the cat.

“Anyone who believes that they or a pet may have had contact with a rabid cat should contact the Westchester County Department of Health immediately at 914-813-5000 to assess the need for rabies treatment,” the department said.

The rabid cat was described as a charcoal gray, short-haired cat with yellowish-green eyes and a dirty coat. Officials said the police officer who was attacked is currently undergoing post-exposure rabies treatment.

The health department advises residents to avoid direct contact with stray or wild animals, especially animals who are displaying unusual behavior such as excessive aggression, a loss of the fear of people, staggering or frothing at the mouth. The department also warns residents not to feed wild or stray animals to keep rabies away. Animals bites or other forms of physical contact with an animal suspected of having rabies should be reported to the county at 914-813-5000.

For more information on rabies, visit the Westchester County Department of Health's website.

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Comments (9)

And google...."The Magic Rabies Shot?" and "Undiagnosed Human Rabies Deaths?"

PedroLoco's posts below are common examples of how cat-lunatics who promote the failed concept of TNR (trap, neuter, release) like to run around doing damage control every time there's another rabies outbreak or cat-attack. They constantly deny they happen in the numbers they do. PedroLoco only posts the cases where rabies has actually been transmitted, but NEVER considers all the THOUSANDS of cases where an unknown cat has scratched or bitten someone with no way to retrieve the cat that got away to kill it and test it for rabies. So each person has to still endure and pay for the painful and expensive rabies shots, whether they got rabies or not. Like this all too common occurrence today: www.news-record.com/content/2012/06/14/article/rescuer_of_kitten_found_on_battleground_avenue_now_needs_help
(in most situations the cat just runs away never to be seen again, in this report the cat was taken by someone else who was never seen again)

To put PedroLoco's twisted motives and beliefs into perspective ...

Here's how TNR works and how it can REALLY "benefit" your community ...

Rabies Outbreak Caused by TNR, 50+ Pets Euthanized, ALL Stray Cats Destroyed, Owners Pay For Own $1000+ Rabies Shots

Rabies Outbreak in Westchester County and the Connection to Feral Cats

Rabid cat adopted from Wake County animal shelter puts owner in financial bind - Pets Quarantined for 6 months, buy your OWN $1000+ rabies shots

There's hundreds more like those on the net, showing how TNR *REALLY* works and helps everyone!

How's that river De-Nile, PedroLoco? Still bathing and drowning in it often, I see.

By the way, if you do a little homework, you'll find that the cat pictured here had just gotten a look at the photographer's dog. Hence, the dramatic reaction.


Granted, it's credited as essentially "stock photography" (though used without permission perhaps?), but I have to question its use as journalism.

Peter J. Wolf

Obviously, this was a horrible incident. But I think a little perspective is in order. Approximately 92 percent of rabid animals reported to the CDC during 2010 were wildlife. Cases among domestic animals included 303 cats (4.9 percent), 71 cattle (1.1 percent), and 69 dogs (1.1 percent) (Blanton, Palmer, Dyer, & Rupprecht, 2011). Since 1960, only two cases of human rabies have been attributed to cats (CDC, 2012).

Rabies cases in cats are concentrated mostly in the Mid-Atlantic states, the Southeast, and Texas. “Most (82.2 percent) of the 303 rabid cats were reported from states where raccoon rabies was enzootic,” explains a report of 2010 rabies surveillance data complied by the CDC, “with two states (Pennsylvania and New York) accounting for nearly a third of rabid cats reported during 2010” (Blanton et al., 2011). On a related note, it has been suggested that the origins of raccoon rabies in the Mid-Atlantic states can be traced to the mid-1970s and “the importation of rabid raccoons from Florida by hunters” (Jenkins & Winkler, 1987; Curtis, 1999; McCoy, 2012).

As I say, this was a horrible incident, but it’s important to put such incidents in perspective, rather than get caught up in the media hype. The exposure risks posed by free-roaming cats—and the trap-neuter-return programs that are used to humanely reduce their numbers—are, as the CDC surveillance data illustrate, minimal.

Peter J. Wolf

Literature Cited
• Blanton, J. D., Palmer, D., Dyer, J., & Rupprecht, C. E. (2011). Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2010. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 239(6), 773–783.
• Curtis, A. (1999). Using a Spatial Filter and a Geographic Information System to Improve Rabies Surveillance Data. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 5(5), 603–606.
• Jenkins, S. R., & Winkler, W. G. (1987). Descriptive Epidemiology from an Epizootic of Raccoon Rabies in the Middle Atlantic States, 1982–1983. American Journal of Epidemiology, 126(3), 429–437.
• McCoy, J. (2012, May 24). Researches closer to eliminating raccoon rabies. The Charleston Gazette, from http://wvgazette.com/Outdoors/201205190101
• CDC (2012). Recovery of a Patient from Clinical Rabies—California, 2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 61(4), 61–64.

Please google....rabies outbreak in Westchester County and the Connection to Feral Cats...for more information about this issue.

This attack sounds eerily similar to the neighbor's cat that attacked my friend while he was working in his garage under his truck. The nearest thing he could grab was a 2x4 to fend off the attack. No matter what he did the cat still kept coming. Til he finally bashed the cat to a pulp to make it stop. He was only glad his 7-yo girl wasn't outside to see it all happen -- or worse, have the cat attack her.

Nature Advocate - Did that also take place in the Greenburgh/Elmsford area?

No. Totally different area of the country. I only wanted to comment to let others know how nasty a cat-attack can be. And in the event it happens grab whatever you can to defend yourself. My friend was quite shook-up by the event, he was still shaking when he told me about it at the bar later that evening. He's no slouch either. But he's never seen any animal so nasty and vicious before. He even likes cats, has his own indoor cats. Took him totally by surprise that they can act that way. Still, he had to do what needed to be done. So many cat-lovers like to think their "cute kitty" can do people no harm. Though they're the #1 domesticated animal to transmit rabies to humans today. Cat attacks are flooding the net lately due to the feral-cat problem around the world. Each person having to undergo painful and costly, >$1000, rabies shots afterward. Not fun.

Here's an interesting personal account of what someone endures from having to get the rabies shots after trying to "save" a stray cat: www.sternenvironmental.com/blog/2012/07/16/the-trouble-with-feral-cats-part-3-of-3/comment-page-1/

It's a no-win situation, for both human and cat. Because even if you can catch the cat again after being bit, it must be destroyed to test it for rabies. There's no reliable test while keeping the animal alive. And if a free-roaming cat has already contracted rabies (its gestation period can be over 6 months without showing symptoms), vaccinating it against rabies later will do it no good. It can still transmit rabies to other animals and humans. As in this sorry case: www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/09/23/2631106/rabid-cat-adopted-from-wake-county.html

This is quite scary.