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Arlington residents cautioned after raccoon bites 3

After a rabid raccoon bit three Arlington residents last week, police are warning others to be careful — there may be other sick animals on the loose.

The raccoon bit a 3-year-old, a 6-year-old, and an adult over the weekend. All three were treated at a local hospital and subsequently released, police said. Police are not releasing the victim’s names.

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The incidents happened in the Morningside neighborhood of Arlington, but police have received reports of sick animals across the town.

The department’s animal control officer quickly located the raccoon responsible for this weekend’s bites, and it was euthanized, police said.

The animal was taken to the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute for rabies testing. Officials announced Monday the animal had tested positive, police said.

Police warn that there is no way to tell if an animal is rabid by just looking at it. Infected animals may act erratically — showing excessive salivation, impaired movement, or paralysis — or may act normally, police said.

In light of the incident, police, along with the town’s Department of Health and Human Services, are telling people to be careful.

“As the warm weather approaches, it’s vital that we remind our children not to approach or feed wild animals,” said Christine Bongiorno, health director for the town. “At the same time, it is equally important that pet owners make sure their cats, dogs, and other pets have up-to-date vaccinations.”

Residents are asked to keep garbage and compost covered at all times and to report any suspicious animals to the police.

Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at jacqueline.tempera@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @jacktemp
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