Rabid Skunk Attacks Dogs

Published 4:28 pm Thursday, January 6, 2011

PRINCE EDWARD – A skunk has tested positive for rabies in the Darlington Heights area of Prince Edward County, according to a news release from the County. Prince Edward County Animal Control and the Prince Edward County Health Department confirmed the case of rabies on Wednesday, January 5, 2011.

Rabies is a fatal, but preventable, disease that is carried by mammals and has been in the wild animal population of the County for many years. There are three important rabies prevention guidelines recommended by County Animal Control: vaccinate pets; immediately report all exposures to wild animals (bites and scratches) to your doctor and the local health department; and enjoy wildlife from a distance – don't feed or encourage wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, or foxes to visit your premises.

In this incident occurring this past weekend, Ray Foster, Chief Animal Control Officer for Prince Edward County would tell The Herald, the two dogs had not been vaccinated against rabies.

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“One dog was on a chain and one was in a pen and the skunk came up to the dog and fought with the one on the chain and then it bit the other one through the fence and the owner saw this happen and he shot the skunk,” Foster detailed.

The pet owner did the proper thing with notification.

“And they were very cooperative. They called the sheriff's department, the sheriff's department called me,” Foster said.

Foster picked the skunk up and it was sent to the state lab on Monday and it was confirmed Wednesday. The dogs, according to Foster, had to be put down.

Had they been vaccinated, the dogs would have had to receive a rabies shot booster immediately following the incident and faced a 45-day quarantine, which can be done at the owner's residence.

“Regrettably, the facts of this particular case are a sobering reminder of how important it is to have your animals vaccinated,” Foster said in the news release. “I urge every citizen of Prince Edward County to please have your companion animals vaccinated. It is the law, but it will also save their life, if they come into contact with a rabid animal.”

Prince Edward County Animal Control has organized low-cost rabies vaccination clinics on Saturday, January 8, at area fire departments: Rice, beginning at 10 a.m.; Prospect, noon, Darlington Heights, 2 p.m.; and Meherrin, 4 p.m.

The clinics are open to County as well as out-of-county residents.

The cost for rabies shots at the clinics is $8 per dog or cat. Rabies certificates will be issued. All dogs should be on leashes and all cats should be in carriers. Additionally, Prince Edward County Treasurer, Mable Shanaberger, will be at each clinic to make 2011 County Dog Tags available for purchase. The cost of dog tags is: neutered/spade dog – $5, un-neutered/un-spade – $10. Cash or checks only will be accepted at the clinics. No credit cards.

For more information about the rabies clinics or dog tags, please contact the Prince Edward County Administrator's Office at 434-392-8837. For more information about rabies, please contact the Prince Edward County Health Department at 434-392-8187.