Animal Control warns of several rabid skunks found around Denver

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DENVER -- Denver Animal Control wants anyone who is spending time outdoors to beware of rabid animals in the city.

Colorado has seen 37 cases of wildlife infected with rabies this year.

The latest was in Denver, where Animal Control encountered four skunks sickened with the deadly virus. Jefferson County has had the most infected skunks with 15, followed by Elbert, Arapahoe and Denver counties with four each.

Denver Animal Control came across one near the 850 block of Knox Court. A family encountered another sick skunk in the 1300 block of Zenobia Street on Wednesday.

One woman worries she might have been exposed to the deadly disease.

"He was helping me chase the skunk around and get him in the box,” Cleo Roll said.  "Scared. Because I didn't know about the rabies. I forgot about rabies. Now, I have to get rabies shots."

Roll and her mother, Yvonne Roll, encountered the skunk in their front yard Wednesday afternoon and pulled out their cameras.

"She was wobbly, like she was going to fall," Cleo Roll said.

She followed it into a neighbor's yard, while a friend called Animal Control.

"We got a box from the neighbors and put her in the box. We brought her home. Next thing, Animal Control was here instantly," Yvonne Roll said.

Animal Control asked the family if they had contact with the animal.

"I got to pet her, touch her, pet her. But they said it's in the saliva. I don't think I got any saliva on me," Cleo Roll said.

But they advised her to get the rabies vaccine just in case.

"They came to my door. They told me she was positive for rabies," Cleo Roll said.

Rabies is a serious threat to humans and animals, and is almost always deadly without medical intervention.

"I heard they found one around the block," Cleo Roll said.

Animal Control confirms it encountered three other skunks in surrounding neighborhoods the past month.

Besides the ones on Zenobia and Knox, Animal Control found infected skunks in the 4800 block of Meade Street and the 2400 block of West 26th Avenue.

"Now I'm worried about the squirrels. They eat the same food in the back," Yvonne Roll said.

She and her daughter admit to feeding the wild animals.

"Beautiful, beautiful animals. But they are very dangerous," Yvonne Roll said.

But say they now know better. Their risk is a big as the stink they create.

"I'm not feeding them no more. I'm going to stay away from them, call Animal Control," Cleo Roll said.

Signs a wild animal might be rabid include the animal staggers when it walks or appears weak; it shows aggression, confusion or a lack of fear around people; or they are seen during the day.

Normally, nocturnal animals such as skunks, foxes and bats are active at night.

Officials advice to not feed or touch wild animals; feed pets indoors; tightly close garbage cans; and keep pet’s vaccinations up to date.

The city of Denver offers $15 rabies vaccinations on weekends from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.