A rabid raccoon was recently found in the town of Keene but not tested, which is the norm under Public Health Department policy.
Sue Allott of the Public Health Department told members of the Essex County Public Services Committee that they did not send the raccoon in question away for testing.
"The raccoon was not tested for rabies because there has already been a positive test in Keene," Allott said. "Once we know that there is a case of rabies in an area, then we do not test for one year. We are not saying that every raccoon in the town is rabid, but we already know that rabies has been found in that town."
Allott said that any rabid animal found after the initial positive is disposed of by the town.
"Our method of disposal is to bag it and take it to a disposal area where animals should not be able to get to it," she said. "The rabies virus does not live in an animal that is not alive."
County Board Chairman Randy Douglas said that he would like the department to start testing any animal that residents are concerned with.
"We need help up here because this rabies thing is running wild up here in Essex County," Douglas said. "When we stop testing animals, then we are not painting a true picture of what is actually going on up here."