CHARLES TOWN - A horse groomer says she and her son were bitten by a rabid cat at Charles Town Races and Slots.

Tonya Racanelli filed a lawsuit June 2 in Jefferson Circuit Court against PNGI Charles Town Gaming. Her son Joshua Patterson is also a plaintiff.

Racanelli says she was tending to horses trained by her husband in June 2004 when a kitten living in one of the barns there bit her. A week later, the same cat bit her son, who was accompanying her in the barn.

"Several days later, Plaintiff noticed that the kitten that bit them was acting abnormally," the complaint says. "The kitten was tested for rabies. The test was positive."

She says her treatment was given outside of the time frame considered safe, and she experienced symptoms that required additional medical care.

"The fact that Plaintiff was bitten by a rabid cat on the property of Defendant was published in the local press," the complaint says. "In retaliation for the press report, Defendant denied access to Plaintiff Tonya Racanelli to the property of Defendant."

She charges the race track with two counts of negligence and a breach of contract.

She is seeking compensatory damages.

Andrew C. Skinner of Charles Town is representing the plaintiffs.

Jefferson Circuit Court case number 06-C-197$

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