Number of rabies cases triples

The higher temperatures aren't the only thing on the rise this summer.

The number of reported rabid animals is increasing with almost three times as many reports coming in this year compared to 2010. There are some warning signs to be aware of if you come across a potentially rabid animal.

There are a lot of wild animals across our area...but skunks are proving to be the one animal to be wary of this summer, as almost 90 percent of the reported rabid cases across the panhandle are attributed to them.

Since they are usually nocturnal, few are seen in the daylight, which is a potential sign for a sick animal. Once they start veering away from their normal activities or become aggressive, you're probably facing a rabid animal.

"A rabid skunk will attack anything..and they may attack a raccoon and then attack your pet," said Danny Alexander with the Randall county Sheriff's Department.

A sentiment pretty much echoed by Dr. Rob Ballinger. "The big thing is actually acting abnormally, a skunk out in the daytime, a bat in the daytime, a wild animal that's not afraid of people, if they're not afraid or acting abnormally, if they're staggering..huge alarm signs."

Officials remind us not to hold or get near wild animals, including skunks, raccoons or bats. And this year they say they're also seeing a problem with feral cats, added Ballinger.

"And at this point, we're seeing a cross over withe the feral cat population, and I would consider a feral cat a wild animal."

Across the Panhandle, we've already had 48 confirmed cases of rabies, up from 18 a year ago. Officials say to keep your distance from these animals and if you see a potentially rabid animal, call 9-1-1.

"If he's acting funny, we want you to call. don't blow it off, because we want to make sure the population is safe," according to Alexander.

"Call animal control, call the sheriff's department, keep the kids away from them, don't take them to day care for show and tell, common things like that," said Ballinger.