The first confirmed rabid animal of the year has been found in Carteret County.
The health department says a homeowner on Highway 24 in Newport shot a raccoon Sunday night after it was staggering and howling its way into his garage.
Fortunately the homeowner did not have any direct contact with the raccoon's saliva, and won't require any treatment. The owners two pets, while not up to date on their rabies shots, did not have any contact with the rabid animal either.
The health department reminds pet owners that February will be a good month for them to update their pet rabies shots, with many veterinarians offering discounts on rabies shots.