Rabies forces tough decisions

Aug. 02, 2013 @ 09:34 AM

Several pet owners got the bad news this week that they may have to confine their animals for six months because they were exposed to rabies.
Health officials reported that a fox found on Whippoorwill Drive in Greensboro and a raccoon found on Bentham Road in Gibsonville both tested positive for rabies. The cases were the 11th and 12th for the year. The fox had contact with two domestic animals and the raccoon had contact with one domestic animal. There was no human exposure.
State law requires that pets that do not have current rabies vaccinations and come in contact with a rabid animal must be euthanized or confined at the owner’s expense for at least six months at a veterinary facility.
“Many owners can not afford to have their pets held for six months, and they have them euthanized,” said Scott Greene of the environmental division of the Guilford County Department of Public Health. “That is why we preach rabies vaccinations.”
The health department and several partners sponsor several $5 vaccine clinics starting each spring.
North Carolina law requires rabies vaccinations for all domestic pets, whether living inside or outside, age 4 months or older. Even animals that are confined in outdoor fenced areas should have current rabies vaccinations because wild animals can get into these areas and attack pets. If bitten, a person should wash the area immediately with soap and water, seek medical attention and report the bite to local animal control officers.
People should report stray animals, animals acting strangely or exposures to sick animals to Animal Control at (336) 641-5990 in Greensboro or (336) 883-3224 in High Point.

Clinics
• Aug. 24:  9 a.m. to noon, Fire District No. 28 at 6619 NC 61 north, Gibsonville
• Sept. 28: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Pleasant Garden Town Hall, 4920 Alliance Church Road, Pleasant Garden
• Payment: $5 cash and personal checks.
• Safety: Dogs must be leashed and cats must be in carriers.
• Information:  Call the health department at (336) 641-7777 or visit www.guilfordhealth.org