Bryan County Health Department officials are reminding residents across the county to have their pets vaccinated for rabies following two cases of family pets testing positive for the virus.
Neither of the family pets was up to date on their rabies vaccinations when they interacted with wild animals in North Bryan. As a result, both pets were euthanized.
“Pets are family members, too, and getting them vaccinated is not only the law in the state of Georgia, but it’s also an easy, inexpensive way to protect them from getting this potentially deadly disease,” said Bryan County Environmental Health Manager Skip Youmans.
According to state law, if a pet has not been vaccinated against rabies and is exposed to the rabies virus, the pet must be euthanized immediately.
If the pet owner refuses, the pet must be put under a strict, six-month isolation at a designated rabies control facility, and the pet owner is responsible for the cost, which is around $2,000.
The Bryan County Health Department offers these tips to protect against rabies:
• Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out overnight.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
• Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.
• Keep vaccinations up to date for all dogs, cats and ferrets. It’s the law, and it’s an important protection for people and their pets.
Call Bryan County Animal Control at 653-3816 to report any animals showing suspicious behavior. Animal Control will work with the Bryan County Health Department to investigate possible cases of rabies. Anyone bitten by an animal should seek medical care immediately.