A raccoon that got into an altercation with a family dog in Richmond Hill near Fort McCallister tested positive for rabies.
As a result, the Bryan County Health Department reminds residents to get all pets vaccinated. The pet in question was up-to-date on vaccinations and will be monitored for 45 days.
Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. Residents should avoid contact with wild or stray animals, watch for unusual behavior in pets and wildlife and get pets vaccinated against rabies.
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 strict, six-month isolation at a designated rabies-control facility, and the pet owner is responsible for the cost, which is approximately $2,000.
The Bryan County Health Department offers these tips as protection from 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 the 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.
• Keep vaccinations up to date for all dogs, cats, and ferrets. It’s the law and it’s an important protection for 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.