County environmental health officials continue to encourage residents to vaccinate pets after a third rabid raccoon was found near Brown Road in South Bryan County.
According to County Environmental Health Manager Skip Youmans, a family dog had to be euthanized after interacting with the rabid raccoon on Sunday. The dog was not up-to-date on its vaccinations.
“Pets are family members, too, and getting them vaccinated is the best way to protect them from rabies and possibly death,” Youmans said.
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 about $2,000.
The first case reported was in early June when a rabid raccoon got into an altercation with a family’s dog in the Fort McAllister area. That dog was up-to-date on its vaccinations, according to a press release from the Coastal Health District.
The second case was June 30, also in the Fort McAllister area, when a South Bryan resident’s dogs attacked a rabid raccoon. All three dogs involved in that incident were also up-to-date on their vaccinations.
The Bryan County Health Department offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:
• Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
• Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines by four months of age, followed by a booster shot one year later, and another one every one or three years depending on the type of vaccine used.
• Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to help. Call animal control or a properly licensed 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.
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. If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately.