STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Angelo Agosto from Bushkill says his scars are healing but what happened to him last month while he was hiking in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area was something out of a TV show.
“All you could hear was me cursing a blue steak at him. I just wanted him off me and that was it,” said Agosto.
Angelo and his dog, Fasha, were at Hidden Lake in Middle Smithfield Township when a rabid raccoon came after him.
“My dog had actually just gone around to the left side of it. It pops up and turns right and sees me first. He was not the drunken type of rabid animal. He was the very ticked off angry vicious type of rabid animal,” said Agosto.
Fasha was able to ward off the raccoon without getting bit. Angelo wasn’t as lucky. The animal took three bites out of his left leg. He is currently on his last round of shots.
“I’ve never had an animal do a crazy thing to me. It was very, very strange. Scary but like I said after the third bite, I was mad,” said Agosto.
According to the state Department of Health, this third confirmed rabid raccoon case in Monroe County since last month.
Larry Hilaire is a wildlife biologist with the National Park Service and says there are a few signs people can look for if you think an animal might be rabid.
“One is what they call the dumb phase. They are kind of lethargic and they are unsteady and kind of dopey. Another is a furious stage where they will just attack almost anything, any kind of movement,” said Hilaire.
Angelo hopes his story makes people more aware of the issue.
“This happened in the middle of the day, 2 o’clock in the afternoon. That’s not supposed to happen they are supposed to be sound asleep. I thought he as just angry that we woke him up. He wasn’t. He was rabid,” Agosto said.
Officials say if you come into contact with a rabid animal and are bitten, get yourself to a hospital immediately.
If your animal gets bitten, call your vet and make sure your pets are up to date on vaccinations.