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Hall has 2 more rabies cases as skunks attack dog, horse

POSTED: March 10, 2009 11:20 p.m.

Two more cases of rabies were confirmed in Hall County this week, including a rare incident involving a horse.

On Saturday, in the Lebanon Church Road area of East Hall near Gillsville, an aggressive skunk came into contact with a horse.

"The skunk just came up to him in the pasture and bit him," said Mike Ledford, director of Hall County Animal Control.

The Georgia Division of Public Health tested the skunk’s remains and confirmed Tuesday that the animal was infected with rabies.

Unlike dogs and cats, horses are not required by law to be vaccinated against rabies. "But it’s recommended, because they are warm-blooded animals, so they can get the rabies virus," Ledford said.

He said this particular horse had been vaccinated, so it will not have to be euthanized or put into a six-month quarantine.

Also on Saturday, a skunk came into contact with a dog in the Hulsey Road area near Clermont. This skunk also was confirmed Tuesday to have been rabid.

"The dog in this case was not vaccinated," said Ledford. "We have it here at the shelter, and we’re still trying to reach the owner to discuss what they want to do next."

Owners in these circumstances frequently opt to euthanize their pet because they can’t afford the expense of a long-term quarantine.

Pet owners in Hall County are urged to have their dogs and cats vaccinated, especially as the springlike weather increases the possibility of encounters with wildlife.

So far this year, there have been five cases of rabies reported in Hall. In 2008, there were a total of 43 cases.

Anyone who observes an animal behaving abnormally, which may be an indication of rabies, should call Animal Control at 770-531-6830.



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