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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