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Rabid bat found in Petaluma

A bat found in downtown Petaluma tested positive for rabies, city animal officials said Thursday.

The bat was found Tuesday in Helen Putnam Plaza by a passerby, Senior Animal Control Officer Jeff Charter said.

It showed signs of being rabid such as an inability to fly and was euthanized for testing by Sonoma County Public Health, Charter said.

?When you see them out in the daytime and not acting normal you start to wonder,? Charter said.

It was the first case of rabies in an animal in Petaluma in at least three years, Charter said.

Officials do not forsee more of the nocturnal animals turning up rabid but cautioned people not to touch them or allow pets near them if they are found.

Bats typically are not aggressive toward people or pets, Charter said.

?We don?t want people to panic because there?s nothing to panic about,? Charter said.

The Center for Disease Control said thousands of people are treated across the country each year after being bitten by animals with rabies, Charter said.

Bats play an important role in removing insects, including disease carrying mosquitoes and agricultural pests, Charter said.


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