WAREHAM – About 12,000 rabies baits were distributed around town Monday, authorities said.

The town’s Department of Natural Resources with the help of the Department of Information Technology distributed 11,880 fishmeal polymer-based oral rabies vaccines.

The WDNR was able to reach many inland wooded areas by using one of its ATVs, according to a post on its Facebook page.

“If your dog decides to have a scooby snack, be advised it is not harmful to them, however, it may cause some stomach upset,” the WDNR noted. “If you find a bait on the street, use a towel or glove and throw it back into the woods.”

The program was funded by USDA Wildlife Services and coordinated by the Cape Cod Rabies Task Force. Wareham has been participating in the distribution for several years.

However, this year it’s become more pressing as three cases of rabid animals have been reported in recent weeks.

Rabies was first case was found Aug. 28 in a large brown bat in the vicinity of Crooked River Road.

The second case was Sept. 2 when the WDNR was called to the 200 block of Great Neck Road for a bat inside of a home that made contact with a single occupant.

The third case of rabies was Sept. 6, this time in a woodchuck/groundhog. WDNR was called to a home in the vicinity of Anthony Way on reports of an aggressive woodchuck/groundhog in a yard.

In all the cases, the animals were sent to the state Department of Public Health, which confirmed all were rabid.

The WDNR is urging pet owners to make sure their pets are up to date with their rabies vaccinations and that their tags reflect that fact. If in doubt, check with your veterinarian.

Any questions of a possible exposure or if you locate an animal acting sickly or in an aggressive manner, contact the WDNR at 508-291-3100, extension 3180. After regular business hours, contact Wareham police dispatch at 508-295-1212.

Do not approach any wildlife, especially if it is acting in a sickly or aggressive fashion, observe from a safe distance and report all sightings, the WDNR advised.