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NorCal Drought Forcing Rabid Skunks Into Populated Areas

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(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS) — Rabid skunks are on the rise and have been spotted in high numbers in Northern California.

“They’re dangerous in the fact that the calls that we have received so far seem to be they are a little bit more aggressive complaints,” said Jennifer Hamburg with El Dorado County Animal Control. “They are charging after people’s dogs.”

Skunks have a strong smell, but there are more and more reports of them carrying the deadly rabies virus.

Hamburg said in an average year, she’ll see five to seven positive reports of rabid skunks. There have been seven in less than three months this year alone.

And it’s not just in the woods of rural areas. They’ve also seen rabid skunks in populated areas.

Hamburg said the drought is already bringing rabid skunks out of the wild to more populated areas to look for food and water.

To spot a rabid skunk, look for one having trouble walking or drinking water. And whatever you do, be sure to stay away.

Animal control said it’s a good idea to get your dogs and cats the rabies vaccine to protect them and report any animal you may think is rabid.

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