Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando boy gets bitten by rabid raccoon

Joseph Stoddard was bitten by a rabid raccoon while with his dog, Noah. He is being treated for rabies and cannot return to school until he’s cleared by his physician.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

Joseph Stoddard was bitten by a rabid raccoon while with his dog, Noah. He is being treated for rabies and cannot return to school until he’s cleared by his physician.

SPRING HILL — Joseph Stoddard and his 2-year-old boxer mix, Noah, went out to the woods after school Monday to gather some firewood.

It was just another day, he said. Until the 15-year-old saw the young raccoon hanging out of his dog's mouth

"I was like, 'Wow,' " Stoddard said. "I was stunned."

But then another emotion struck him: Fear.

He was worried that, somehow, the raccoon would injure his dog, maybe even kill it.

So Stoddard snatched the raccoon by the scruff of the neck and hind legs, pulling it away from his dog's toothy grip.

"I wasn't thinking. I just grabbed it," he said.

He held tight and started walking the 300 or so feet back to his home, raccoon in hand.

Squirming in his hands, the animal managed to turn its neck around and bite Stoddard's index finger. It scratched his arms and legs as he hauled it home.

That's when Stoddard's mom, Lisa Patrick, saw him. And the raccoon.

"I saw him bleeding and I saw the coon and I knew what that meant," said Patrick, who is a veterinary technician.

It meant rabies.

Patrick found a cat carrier in the house and she and her son shoved the raccoon in the cage as fast as they could, locking the door behind it.

"Is that blood yours?" Patrick asked. "Did he bite you?"

Her son went inside to scrub his hands while a Hernando County animal services officer showed up and took the raccoon away to be euthanized. It was later decapitated and tested for rabies.

On Wednesday, the tests came back positive. It was the county's first exposure in more than a year.

The last one came in June 2011 when a rabid fox attacked a woman, latching on until it was eventually killed by a neighbor.

Stoddard and his dog Noah, will be okay.

Noah had his proper rabies vaccinations and Stoddard is undergoing rabies treatments, which consist of a course of shots.

Patrick sees this as a cautionary tale.

"He didn't think. He just acted for the dog," she said. "He didn't think that the raccoon would do that. He just thought he could get him away."

While she understands why her son would want to save his dog, she explained to him how much danger he placed himself in.

Patrick said this also serves as an example for why dogs need to be vaccinated. Noah likely would have been euthanized if he hadn't had his shots.

"It's a five dollar to 10 dollar shot and it's worth it," she said.

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. Tweet him @HernandoTimes.

>> Fast facts

Avoiding rabies

Hernando's Health Department recommends residents and visitors observe the following guidelines to help prevent exposure to rabid animals.

• Vaccinate all dogs, cats and ferrets over the age of 3 months.

• Avoid free-roaming animals.

• Don't allow pets to run free. Follow leash laws. Keep pets and livestock secured on your property and consider fencing in areas used commonly by children and pets.

• Don't feed wild animals, and secure garbage cans and dumpsters.

People wishing to report stray animals or animals exhibiting unusual behavior may call the Sheriff's Office at (352) 754-6830.

Hernando boy gets bitten by rabid raccoon 11/29/12 [Last modified: Thursday, November 29, 2012 8:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Five reasons why Kentucky can beat Florida for the first time since 1986

    College

    By Matt Baker

    GAINESVILLE — Florida's 30-game winning streak over Kentucky is one of the most impressive feats in the country.

    Florida Gators offensive lineman Martez Ivey (73) celebrates Florida Gators running back Mark Thompson's  (24) touch down in the first quarter, putting Florida on the board 6-0 during the game between the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Kentucky 45-7. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times

  2. Once targeted by the Bucs, Dalvin Cook thrills for the Vikings

    Bucs

    How good would the Bucs be with running back Dalvin Cook?

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) slips a tackle by Steelers strong safety Sean Davis (28) to score a touchdown Sunday in Pittsburgh. [AP photo]
  3. Review: More than 20 years later, 'RENT' still matters

    Stage

    TAMPA — Two decades after Rent shook up Broadway with a starkly joyous musical that demanded to be recognized, a nostalgic tour is taking audiences back.

    The 20th anniversary tour of RENT, shown in 2016, comes to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts Sept. 19-24, 2017. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
  4. Dennis Miller, headed to Tampa with Bill O'Reilly: 'We don't know each other that well'

    Events

    Dennis Miller often gets cast as the odd comic out these days.

    Dennis Miller will perform with Bill O'Reilly at the Spin Stops Here Tour at Amalie Arena in Tampa. [Spuffy Productions]
  5. Tampa Bay among top 25 metro areas with fastest growing economies

    Economic Development

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy among 382 metro areas in the country for 2016. According to an analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Tampa Bay's gross domestic product, or GDP, increased 4.2 percent from 2015 to 2016 to hit $126.2 billion.

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy in the country for 2016. Rentals were one of the areas that contributed to Tampa Bay's GDP growth. Pictured is attorney David Eaton in front of his rental home. 
[SCOTT KEELER | Times]