The increase probably has something to do with the mild winter (pretty much non existent, in fact) that we had. I'd just bet we're gonna have some problems with insects this summer, too. It just didn't get cold enough long enough nor snow enough.
Remember, you are probably not gonna get rabies from a skunk or a raccoon. But little Fluffy, who was outside watering the lawn before being allowed back in, might catch it defending her turf, like a little Fluffy would.
My shy ol' dog Babs used to take 'em on. I'd smell the results of the battle, and she would come to me all proud and happy with herself because she had by God done her job! Unfortunately, it would be several days before I could stand to reward her.....
She was bitten a few times, too - it might have been raccoons or skunks. Her neck became very swollen for a few days. I figured that was where a bite became infected. She always healed up, and as she got older and wiser, she learned to leave those critters alone. Her turf was primarily her food dish, and the older Babs became more of a live and let live kinda hound.
Since she passed and I don't keep dog food on the front porch anymore, my encounters with wildlife have diminished considerably. There is nothing to draw skunks, opossums, raccoons, mice and birds. The mice attracted snakes. They're all still out there, but not camped out on the porch these days.
Rabies isn't quite the problem as in the past, but it's still serious business: