Atlantic County health officials are reminding residents of the importance of vaccinating their pets after the county’s third rabies case was confirmed.

A dead raccoon was found Friday on the 600 block of Woodland Avenue in Absecon, county spokeswoman Linda Gilmore said.

The property owners found the raccoon in the backyard when they let their three dogs out, Gilmore said. The raccoon was sent to a state lab for testing, which confirmed the rabies.

An Atlantic County Division of Public Health investigation could not determine whether the raccoon was killed by the dogs, she said. The dogs were vaccinated but will receive a rabies booster and be placed under observation for 45 days as per state guidelines.

Previous rabies cases involved a domestic cat in Egg Harbor Township and a fox in Galloway Township. The county had 10 rabies cases last year that involved four raccoons, three cats, two bats and a skunk.

Rabies is a viral disease that is fatal if left untreated. Pet owners are advised to protect their pets with a rabies vaccination.

The Atlantic County Animal Shelter provides a free rabies vaccination clinic for dogs and cats once a month at 240 Old Turnpike Road in Pleasantville. Dogs must be brought on leashes and cats in carriers. For information, call 609-485-2345 or visit aclink.org/ animalshelter.

Dogs and cats are considered immunized 28 days after receiving the shot, Gilmore said. They should be kept inside until then.

Children should stay away from wild, stray or aggressive animals.

Report all animal bites to the Division of Public Health at 609-645-5971.

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Contact: 609-601-5193 rj.liberatore@catamaranmedia.com Twitter @gallowaycurrent

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