Dead raccoon found in downtown Princeton tests positive for rabies

A dead raccoon was discovered by Planet Princeton in the backyard of property on Spring Street near Vandeventer Avenue in downtown Princeton at about 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 5. The raccoon was located on a lawn about five feet from the back door to a home.

Princeton Animal Control Officer Jim Ferry promptly responded to a call by Planet Princeton reporting the discovery of the dead raccoon, and Ferry removed the animal. Ferry noticed that the raccoon had been bitten on the nose by another animal, and had the raccoon sent to a state facility for testing. It is unknown what kind of animal bit the raccoon.

The raccoon tested positive for rabies. Neighbors told Planet Princeton they spotted the raccoon the evening before it died. The raccoon was hiding under cars on Spring Street and was acting disoriented, neighbors said.

Rabies is a viral disease transmitted via the bite of an infected animal or by its lick over an open cut. The rabies virus is present in the infected animal’s saliva. After a person or animal is bitten by an infected animal, the virus multiplies at the bite site, and then travels along nerves to the brain.

Anyone who had contact with a raccoon in that neighborhood should seek medical attention right away. If you have pets that had contact with the raccoon or pets that have been bitten by another anomal recently, have the animals examined by a veterinarian and check to see if rabies shots are up to date.

Call the Princeton Police Department at 609) 921-2100 if you spot a sick animal, especially an animal showing signs of neurological problems. The animal may appear disoriented or drunk. Do not approach the animal. Report bites the Princeton Animal Control Officer by calling (609) 924-2728.


  1. We found a dead raccoon on our property this weekend. My husband called the police as animal control are not on duty at weekend. We had concern about rabies, however, we were told just to put in garbage!

  2. I saw two raccoons in my yard in the John Witherspoon neighborhood in late November. It was the first time I had ever seen raccoons. The Spring Street animal was probably one of the ones I saw.

  3. When my daughter’s dog killed a raccoon during the day in Hamilton, they called the police. Since it was after hours for animal control, they were told to put the raccoon on ice in a garbage pail and animal control would pick it up the next day. They did and it tested positive for rabies.This seems more sensible than putting it in the garbage!

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