Skunked dog to spend 6 months in isolation
A North Carolina couple has lost their dog for six months — apparently because he got sprayed by a skunk.
Even though he didn’t get bitten, or come in contact with the skunk, the dog has been placed in quarantine for six months by county animal control officials who say the precaution is necessary because the dog’s rabies shot had lapsed.
Something about that stinks.
Michael and April McQueen aren’t coming right out and saying that, but they are politely questioning the decision.
“He didn’t come in contact with the skunk. He never touched the skunk,” said April McQueen, of Kernersville, whose 11-year-old dog, Simon, is now being quarantined by a private veterinarian. “The skunk never touched him. He wasn’t bitten. There was no yelp, and there was no scuffle.”
Given that, the county’s reaction — scary as rabies is — seems to be an over-reaction.
Skunks can’t pass along rabies through their spray. That seems to be pretty much accepted by health and wildlife organizations. One almost always has to be bitten to get rabies.
Maybe animal control officials are trying to send a message to the public about the importance of keeping rabies vaccinations up to date. But unless they simply don’t believe the family’s claim that the dog wasn’t bitten, and have proof otherwise, Simon should be sent home, in my view.
April says she was walking Simon Thursday night when a skunk sprayed him. As a precaution she took the dog to a veterinarian and learned he was three weeks late on renewing his rabies booster.
“That’s when I was told they were going to have to contact animal control because his rabies shot had lapsed,” she told Fox 8. “The next morning I get a call from animal control, and they’re saying they want to quarantine our dog for six months or euthanize him.”
North Carolina law requires pets exposed to animals prone to carry rabies like skunks, foxes, coyotes, bats and raccoons be either euthanized or quarantined, at the owners expense, for six months if their rabies vaccination isn’t up to date.
But getting sprayed doesn’t constitute exposure — at least that’s what the Arkansas Department of Health says on its website.
Simon’s incarceration is “due to the fact that rabies can take up to six months before a pet shows signs of the virus,” said Tim Jennings with the Forsyth County Animal Control. “It’s why we stress the importance of keeping pets up to date on their vaccinations.”
“Obviously they want to protect the health of the community,” said April’s husband, Michael McQueen, who plans to appeal the decision, based on the lack of contact between skunk and dog, and based as well on the thought of his dog in solitary.
“You think about a 11-year-old dog, used to living inside with us all these years and is just tossed in a cement 4×6 cage with no contact,” he said.
If the McQueen’s appeal is denied Simon would have to remain in isolation, without any human or animal contact, until Dec. 6. That’s going to cost the McQueens about $3,000.
“We just don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” said April. “Life can be busy but make sure your animals are vaccinated and up-to-date.”
(Update: Simon has been returned to his family. Details here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 12th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, april mcqueen, dog, dogs, exposure, forsyth county, health, kernersville, lab, michael mcqueen, mix, pets, quarantine, rabies, simon, skunk, skunked, skunked dog, spray, sprayed, vaccinations