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Oral rabies field evaluation of new vax to halt raccoon rabies to take place in GC July 26 - Aug. 24

By Press Release

From the county health department:

New York will once again be taking part in a nationally coordinated effort to halt the spread of raccoon rabies in 16 states. The Oral Rabies Vaccine Field Evaluation will be held in New York, July 26 – Aug. 24.

Ongoing field evaluation of a new oral rabies vaccine (ORV) called ONRAB will occur in Clinton, Essex counties in the Empire State as part of an evaluation that also includes parts of northern Vermont and New Hampshire.  Additionally, evaluations will also occur in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence, and Wyoming counties.

These sites were selected in part because of ongoing collaborations with partners from the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, Canada, in the fight against rabies to protect human and animal health and reduce significant costs associated with living with rabies across broad geographic areas.  Aerial and hand distribution of baits will take place in New York from July 26 – Aug. 24. 

Rabies is a serious public health concern because if left untreated it is invariably fatal. Costs associated with detection, prevention and control of rabies conservatively exceed $500 million annually.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, greater than 90 percent of reported rabies cases in the United States are in wildlife. The cooperative USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Services, National Rabies Management Program (NRMP) was established in 1997 to prevent the further spread of wildlife rabies in the United States by containing and eventually eliminating the virus in terrestrial mammals.

The majority of the NRMP efforts are focused on controlling raccoon rabies, which continues to account for most of the reported wildlife rabies cases in the United States. Raccoon rabies occurs in all states east of the established ORV zone that extends from Maine to Northeastern Ohio to central Alabama.

Continued access to oral vaccine and bait options that are effective in all target wildlife species remains critical to long-term success. 

During 2011, the NRMP worked with other Federal, State, and local partners to conduct the first raccoon ORV field trial in the United States in over 20 years.

This field trial was designed to test the safety and immunogenicity of the oral human adenovirus-rabies glycoprotein recombinant vaccine ONRAB (Artemis Technologies, Guelph, Ontario, Canada), which has been successfully integrated into comprehensive rabies control programs that resulted in elimination of raccoon rabies from Canada.

Encouraging results from the U.S. trial in West Virginia represented a major milestone that led to expanded evaluations in four additional states (N.H., N.Y., Ohio, and Ver.) during 2012-2020.

In 2021, the use of ONRAB will further expand into two additional states (Pa. and Tenn.). Data from these evaluations will support licensing of this vaccine for broader, more aggressive management of raccoon rabies by the NRMP and partners, with the goal of eliminating the variant of the rabies virus that cycles in raccoons.

The ONRAB bait consists of a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) blister pack, containing the vaccine. To make the baits attractive, the blister packs are coated with a sweet attractant that includes vegetable-based fats, wax, icing sugar, vegetable oil, artificial marshmallow flavor, and dark-green food-grade dye.

Humans and pets cannot get rabies from contact with the bait. However, people who encounter baits directly are asked to leave them undisturbed.  Should contact with bait occur, immediately rinse the area with warm water and soap and contact your local health department at (585) 344-2580, ext. 5555, for Genesee County or (585) 589-3278 for Orleans County.

Please do not attempt to remove a bait from your dog’s mouth. The bait will not harm the dog. If you have additional questions related to the field evaluation in New York, please contact the Wildlife Services office in Rensselaer at (518) 268-2289.

Turtle in the road Le Roy prompts call to dispatch

By Billie Owens

A turtle was in the road on Church Street in the Village of Le Roy, says a caller to dispatch, and now it's on the sidewalk but there are children playing with it. A Le Roy police officer is responding.

UPDATE 12:04 p.m.: "The turtle has been removed; that job can now be cleared," an officer tells dispatch.

Motorcycle vs. woodchuck accident reported in Darien

By Billie Owens

A motorcycle vs. woodchuck accident with injuries is reported in the Town of Darien at Colby and Sharrick roads. The bike rider has a leg injury. Corfu Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics. Law enforcement is on scene.

UPDATE 10:09 a.m.: The motorcyclist, in addition to having upper left leg pain, has an injured right eye and some abrasions on his right side. The woodchuck is reportedly deceased.

UPDATE 10:28 a.m.: There's a tree down, which is causing an unknown-type wire to bow about five feet off the ground. A first responder says it's not in the roadway and there's no footpath, so it's not impeding traffic.

Dog tied to cart corral with empty bowl nearby and sign saying 'Do Not Pet' at Walmart

By Billie Owens

An animal control officer headed to Bethany for a complaint that some ducks may be inadequately sheltered, is asked to stop at Walmart first. A caller says there's a dog tied to a cart corral in the last aisle in front of the grocery entrance.

There's an empty bowl by the dog and a sign that says "Do Not Pet."

UPDATE 3:17 p.m.: A couple of deputies are heading to Walmart to assist the animal control officers who says a female whom she detained at the vehicle wants to leave. The female then got in the vehicle and started to leave "even though I told her not to," says the officer, but now the driver has stopped.

UPDATE 3:20 p.m.: Deputies are on scene.

UPDATE 3:29 p.m.: After speaking with the driver, all officers have cleared the scene. The animal control officer is continuing to the Bethany complaint, which is in the 10,000 block of Silver Road.

Photo: Bald eagles spotted by South Main in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens


John Spyropoulos spotted a pair of bald eagles feasting on a deer carcass this morning along the Tonawanda Creek along South Main Street in Batavia. He submitted this photo where you can see one of the eagles at the top of a tree.

Injured goose reported in side yard on West Main Street Road, Batavia

By Billie Owens

A caller to dispatch reports there's an injured goose in a side yard in the 3900 block of West Main Street Road, Town of Batavia.

A Department of Environmental Conservation officer in on scene and requests assistance from a Sheriff's deputy. A deputy is dispatched to the location.

What's worse than bats in the belfry? A bat in your kitchen

By Billie Owens

A woman who lives in the 9200 block of Shepard Road in Batavia is "extremely upset" because a bat flew into her kitchen and she does not know what to do. She tried enlisting neighbors' help but it wasn't too helpful. A sheriff's deputy just arrived "in the kitchen." He'll know what to do.

VIDEO: Family of skunks on Trumbull Parkway

By Howard B. Owens

Yesterday evening, Trumbull Parkway resident Ray Tortorice spotted a family of skunks crossing his yard. When they saw him, the family retreated. About 20 minutes later, they came back, emerging from his neighbor's yard on East Avenue, passing through Tortorice's yard and flower bed and east to North Spruce Street, which he captured on video.

"I guess they were on some kind of night 'Recon' mission," Tortorice said.

Duck and ducklings reported in Batavia's Tops parking lot near gas pumps

By Billie Owens

A caller to dispatch reports "a duck and ducklings" are in the Tops Market parking lot in Batavia, near the gas pumps. Law enforcement is responding.

UPDATE 1:28 p.m.: The caller reported seeing the ducks wandering in the parking lot, then drove off and did not know the direction in which they were waddling. An animal control officer who responded to the scene scoured the area unsuccessfully. Assuming at that point the feathered family got to a safe place, the officer went back in service.

Mother duck sets up her nursery in flowerpot outside Marshall's

By Billie Owens

A sheriff's deputy to dispatcher a couple of minutes ago: "Can you start me an animal job? Location will be Marshall's. Attempting to relocate a mother duck and ducklings who were hatched in a flowerpot outside." Dispatcher: "Copy that. Mother duck and ducklings."

UPDATE 1:40 p.m.: About 25 minutes ago a law enforcement officer successfully gathered the badling of ducks, or the brood of ducks if you like, and relocated them to a retention pond behind the store safe and sound.

Explore and enjoy the outdoors at GC Park & Forest on Saturday: three activities to choose from

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Explore and enjoy the outdoors this Saturday, May 18th, at the Genesee County Park & Forest!

Morning Guided Dog Walk

Bring your best friend and join us for a guided dog walk through the Genesee County Park & Forest onSaturday May 18th, Saturday June 8th and Saturday July 13th from 10 to 11 a.m.!

This guided walk is great for socialization and healthy exercise! Meet at the Interpretive Nature Center. Dogs must be on a leash at all times. Current license or proof of up-to-date rabies vaccination is required.

Aggressive dogs will not be allowed to participate. Cost is $5/dog. Preregistration is required! Call (585) 344-1122 to register!

Afternoon Pond Discovery

Dive into some wild creature encounters with Pond Discovery from 1 to 3 p.m. Be prepared to get muddy and wet!

You will be using a net and sharing a bucket of water to catch animals, and then identify and learn about them from a Naturalist Guide. Meet us at the Interpretive Nature Center at Genesee County Park & Forest. All equipment is provided, just bring yourself and a camera!

Cost is $5/person, $10/family, call 585-344-1122 to register!

Evening Full Moon Owl Prowl

Explore the secret world of owls on a full moon night with our Full Moon Owl Prowl Hike from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. Listen for the sounds of nocturnal wildlife and learn about owls! Hear full moon folklore and visit owl habitats.

Anything can happen on an Owl Prowl! Meet us at the Interpretive Nature Center at Genesee County Park & Forest.

Cost is $5/person, $10/family, preregistration is required! Call 585-344-1122 to reserve your spot!

Preregistration is required for all programs. To register call (585) 344-1122.

For more information visit our website here, or email Shannon Lyaski at or phone (585) 344-1122.

Spring into Nature connected lots of people to nature and conservation at the Iroquois wildlife refuge

By Virginia Kropf

Above, ladies from the Alabama-Basom Methodist Church held a bake sale at the Spring Into Nature event. From left are Gladys Phillips, Janice Snyder, Marian Green and Phyllis Brooks.


Chilly, damp weather didn’t deter conservation enthusiasts who attended the 35th annual Spring Into Nature event at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama last Saturday.

Nearly three dozen organizations that participated were spread throughout the refuge’s shops, the Visitors’ Center on Casey Road and outside. Visitors came from across Western New York for the yearly heralding of springtime.

The purpose of the event is to connect people with nature and conservation, said Wildlife Refuge Specialist Kate Brenner.

Spring Into Nature 2019 was dedicated to Robert Schmidt, a volunteer for more than 20 years on the refuge, which primarily serves as a nesting, feeding, resting and staging area for migratory waterfowl. It is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wlidlife Service.

There was plenty of food to purchase; and numerous activities, presentations and demonstrations geared to every age took place during the day.​ These included a bald eagle watch, archery, and more.

Alabama volunteer firemen brought a fire truck and visitors were encouraged to thank a firefighter for their service.

Among the activities for children was building a toad abode, making pinecone bird feeders, face painting and animal origami (the art of Japanese paper folding).

For the Alabama-Basom Methodist Church, the day provided the opportunity to earn money to benefit the church. Nearly every year the event has taken place, the church has had a bake sale there. They offer everything from pies, cookies and cupcakes to muffin bread.

Marion Green, who will be 85 this summer, has been going to the church since she was 2. She proudly held up one of the muffin breads she made for the sale.

Money made from the bake sale goes toward putting county water in the church, Green said.

To learn more about Iroquois National Wlidlife Refuge, click here.

Photos by Virginia Kropf.

Below, 10-year-old Melissa Outten, of Gasport, shows off the toad abode she made during Spring Into Nature. Behind her is a muskrat den, which is one of the displays in the Visitors’ Center.

City chicken 'running at large' at East Main and North Spruce

By Billie Owens

City police are asked to respond to East Main Street in the area of North Spruce Street for a chicken reportedly running at large.

UPDATE 5:57 p.m.: "Any direction of travel on the bird?" asks an officer. The response: "In the parking lot of a doctor's office on North Spruce, heading toward East Main."

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