BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — When you think of rabies, a man’s best friend is usually the first to come to mind. But the federal government has concerns over another four-legged creature: raccoons.

The USDA’s Wildlife Services will begin distributing oral rabies vaccines in Baldwin County by dropping them in wooded areas and from aircraft.

“I think it’s really a good idea for a couple of reasons,” said Don Borwhat of Gulf Shores. “One, it will protect the population of the raccoons and they are really necessary for the environment and two, it’s good for our pets because we’re not going to have rabid raccoons running around.”

Fishmeal covered, plastic packets filled with rabies vaccine will be dropped from airplanes over Spanish Fort, Daphne, Fairhope and Foley.

“I worry about the dogs and what it would do to the dogs if they got a hold of them,” said Debbie Manders of Michigan. Not to worry. According to the USDA, it is not harmful to pets but humans shouldn’t touch the packets without wearing gloves.

“We have bigger problems than raccoons,” said Debra Mills who doesn’t understand why the government would spend money on the program. “Raccoons, as long as you stay away from them and they don’t bite you, I don’t think it would be a problem.”

Last year in Alabama, the state health department confirmed 49 cases of rabies. The majority of them were raccoons. While they are the targets of the vaccine drop the vaccine will also work on coyotes and foxes.

“We have heard of foxes,” said Borwhat. “We have seen foxes and have had troubles but this is new. Maybe there’s not a problem they just want to prevent one.”

Ground crews are wrapping up distribution in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Two planes and a helicopter will be used to drop the bait along the Eastern Shore starting Thursday.