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Coyote sightings in Gainesville raise rabies fears
Wild canine populations on rise throughout state, experts say
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Rabies vaccines

For pets
Hall County Animal Shelter
Where: 1688 Barber Road
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday
Cost: $10

Humane Society of Northeast Georgia
Where: 845 West Ridge Road
When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday
Cost: $10

For people
Consult your physician

 

Residents around Riverside Drive and Island Drive in Gainesville have reported sightings of a possible rabid coyote, an animal whose population is on the rise in North Georgia.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Scott Frazier said the species is now believed to be in all counties of the region.

“Localized populations wax and wane naturally,” Frazier said. “One year they may be up, the next down. But generally the long-term trend is the prevalence of coyotes is up, and that would hold true for Hall County just like the rest of the northern part of the state.”

No exact numbers were provided by Gainesville police on reports made to the department about the suspected coyote.

Prevailing ideas on the increase of the coyote is the disappearance of the red wolf.

“That sort of left that dominant predator slot available,” Frazier said.

Though the decreasing number of red wolves has been seen for many years, the prevalence of coyotes in North Georgia has come about in the last 10 years, Frazier said.

Frazier said people seeking proactive rabies vaccines can consult their physician. The Hall County Animal Shelter and the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia offer pet vaccines for $10. They are also available from local veterinarians.

“We have no documented cases of a rabid coyote exposing persons anywhere that I’m aware of ... however, with their ecological role as a predator and as a canine, we certainly know that they are subject to those common canine diseases like rabies,” Frazier said.

If exposed, Frazier said the person must immediately go to the county health department.

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