CRESTVIEW — Florida’s Department of Health issued a rabies alert for Okaloosa County after a feral cat tested positive for the disease on June 27.
Crestview News Bulletin reporter Genevieve DiNatale took to the streets to find out what residents think of this. Here’s what they said.
“It’s scary as a pet owner (of two Jack Russell terriers) — very scary. We’ll be watching them outside and watching them around our house, that’s for sure.”
“It’s scary. It’s real scary, cause … we have two Jack Russells at home and those are our babies.
“It don’t matter to me. We got animals but we keep them mostly in the house.”
Regarding whether Okaloosa County, and Crestview specifically, has a feral cat problem: “Yeah, because of a lot of the empty houses … shacks around here that should be demo’d. They got a place to breed, that’s where they’re going to hang out.”
The rabies alert applies to the 32547 zip code in Fort Walton Beach and expires 60 days from the date of issue. However, all areas can be proactive in the fight against rabies.
"Report stray or wild animals that are acting abnormally to animal control," the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Okaloosa Extension website states. "Avoid contact with these animals. Also, avoid contact with dead animals as the virus can survive in tears, saliva and brain and nervous tissue.
"High risk animals include raccoons, bats, skunks, coyotes, foxes, otters, bobcats, stray dogs and stray/feral cats."