60 Animals Removed From Home of Man Bitten by King Cobra

Officials removed 60 animals Wednesday from the home of Ali Iyoob, who was bitten by his own king cobra earlier this week.

Iyoob remains in critical condition at UNC hospitals after being bit by the venomous snake.

Orange County Animal Services, members of the Sheriff’s Office and experts from the North Carolina Museum of Natural sciences spent 6 hours Wednesday removing the animals from Iyoob’s home. In total they removed 60 animals including, 34 snakes, 18 of which were venomous, one caiman, two turtles, five chickens, eight baby chicks, four quail, four fish and a dog and a cat and one small crocodile species called a caiman.

An Orange County ordinance restricts keeping venomous or constrictive snakes inside the county.

Bob Marotto, director of Orange County Animal Services, said this case was the reason that rule is in place.

“The public safety risk of wild and exotic animals, of snakes that are venomous and can administer a lethal bite are the primary reason we have the ordinance we have here in Orange County,” said Marotto.

According to the release from Orange County, the venomous snakes will be moved to a holding facility, while the others will be held at the NC Zoo. The rest of the animals will remain in the care of Animal Services for now.

It is unclear whether Iyoob will face charges.


Grant Will Aid Chatham County Animal Services in Cruelty Cases

Chatham County Animal Services has received a grant to purchase equipment to assist in animal cruelty cases, the organization announced Wednesday.

The grant is funded by the ASPCA and totals $5,735. A release says Animal Services requested the funds to purchase foundational veterinary forensic equipment to assist in evidence collecting in animal cruelty cases.

Animal Services director Leigh Anne Garrard said in a statement, “We are extremely grateful to the ASPCA for their support of agencies like ours in the fight against animal cruelty. Having the support of a national partner like the ASPCA is imperative to continuing our efforts of positive growth in the Animal Services division. I know the staff will utilize the new tools for the best possible outcomes in our cruelty cases.”

The funds will be used to purchase two SLR cameras, two lenses, two external flash drives, four memory cards, two cases, four wildlife cameras, one ammonia reader, one passport for chain of custody and one locker for evidence, according to the agency.

Nearly 200 animals were rescued from a Chatham County home earlier this year. Officials say that was the largest animal rescue in Chatham County history. Those animals were then sent to shelters across the country.


Rabid Bat Found In Chapel Hill Home

A bat in Chapel Hill marks Orange County’s first case of rabies this year.

The bat was found flying inside a home last Friday. Animal Services officers removed it for testing. The case was confirmed on Wednesday.

Officials say neither the family members nor the two dogs in the home came into contact with the bat, but they don’t know how long it was indoors.

Orange County has seen an uptick in rabies cases in the past 12 months. 23 cases were confirmed in 2014, nearly double the totals for the two previous years.

Residents are urged to report any contact with a bat, regardless of whether household pets or farm animals are involved. That’s because the few cases of human rabies in this country in recent years have been traced to bats.

If you discover a bat inside your house, be sure not to release it, but do remove yourself and any animals from the area. Always call animal control immediately if you find a bat in your home even if there is no evidence of a bite.

If an incident occurs after business hours, you can reach Orange County Animal Services by calling 911. You can find out more about rabies prevention here.


Orange County Rabies Cases on the Rise in 2014

Rabies cases throughout Orange County were up sharply for 2014 when compared to previous years.

Orange County Animal Services Director Bob Marotto says the number of confirmed rabies cases nearly doubled.

“We had our final laboratory-confirmed rabies case on December 30, in Hillsborough,” he says. “That was the 23 laboratory-confirmed rabies case we had in 2014.”

There were 12 confirmed rabies cases in both 2012 and 2013.

Marotto says there is no exact science to predicting how many cases a given area may see each year, but there are data points that reveal certain trends.

“The historical data that we have indicates that there is a cycling in these numbers,” he says. “We saw, in 2014, the beginning of an upswing.”

He says these trends typically run in one-to-three-year cycles. Marotto also points out there were 23 confirmed cases, meaning the possibility exists the number of rabid animals was even higher – those cases just were not confirmed by the state lab.

Marotto says residents need to be prepared for increased cases in the future.

“There is rabies here,” he says. “It probably will never go away in our lifetime. Therefore, we need to be prepared individually, as households, as pet owners, and as a community.”

That includes taking steps to ensure the safety of our pets, and Marotto says monitoring your surroundings, as well as your pet’s environment, is vital.

“We’re all better off without having our animal outside unattended,” he says. “If we are with our animal, the likelihood that there is going to be an encounter is reduced because we can remove our pet and ourselves from the situation.”

Staying current with the law is also a way to help protect you and your animals from rabies. North Carolina law states that all cats and dogs over 4 months must be current with their rabies vaccine at all times. And the Orange County ordinance calls for pets to wear a rabies vaccination tag.

If your vaccinated pet has an encounter with a rabid animal, they are required to receive a rabies booster shot within five days, or they will be treated as an unvaccinated animal. In the case of an unvaccinated pet, the choice is between euthanasia and having the animal quarantined for up to 6 months.

Marotto says the best thing is to make sure your pet is vaccinated, and you can do that through Orange County Animal Service’s low-cost vaccination clinics.


Rabid Fox Attacks Two In Hillsborough

Orange County’s twelfth confirmed case of rabies this year involves a fox said to have attacked two people in Hillsborough.

A man reported on Wednesday  that a fox grabbed his leg but he killed the animal before it could break the skin. However, a nearby resident was not so lucky. A day earlier someone reportedly was attacked and bitten by an aggressive fox that fled the area. Animal Services officials believe the same fox was responsible for both attacks.

The bite victim was treated at the emergency room and is receiving post-exposure treatment. The man who killed the fox has been referred to a community health nurse to assess his risk of exposure.

This is the first case this year involving a fox.

With this most recent report, the county’s total for the past six months surpasses all reported cases from last year.

Bob Marotto, Director of Animal Services, says the rate at which positive cases are being reported indicates that rabies is on the rise. He emphasizes the importance of consistently taking precautionary measures and reporting any incidents to Animal Services.

The next Low-Cost Rabies Vaccination Clinic will take place on Saturday, June 14, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Animal Services Center in Chapel Hill.


Helping Animals…And Humans

ORANGE COUNTY – October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, and Orange County Animal Services is marking the occasion with reduced adoption fees for select dogs throughout the month.

OCAS has reduced the adoption fee to $60 for all adult dogs and select puppies, a 50 percent reduction. All dogs are fully vaccinated, spayed/neutered and vet checked.

The American Humane Association created Adopt a Shelter Dog Month to reduce the number of homeless dogs and puppies in shelters.

For more information, visit OrangeCountyNC.gov/AnimalServices.


The Orange County Human Relations Commission is accepting nominations for the 2013 Pauli Murray Human Relations Awards.

Since 1990, the OCHRC has presented the Pauli Murray Award annually to a local youth, adult, and business owner who serves the Orange County community “in the pursuit of equality, justice and human rights for all residents.”

Individual and youth nominees must be Orange County residents. Nominations are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 22. Visit OrangeCountyNC.gov/housing/pmurray.asp for more criteria and the nomination form.


If you own goats or sheep, the Orange County Cooperative Extension is inviting you to a Parasite Management Workshop on Tuesday, October 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Carolina Holstein Barn on Orange Grove Road in Hillsborough.

Presenters will be Lauren Langley, Orange and Alamance area livestock extension agent, and NC State University Extension meat goat specialist Jean-Marie Luginbuhl.

The workshop fee is $17 per person and preregistration is required by October 16. To register, call Lauren Langley at 919-245-2058 or email her at lauren_langley@ncsu.edu, or visit orange.ces.ncsu.edu.


BoCC To Discuss Streamlining Animal Control Regs.

ORANGE COUNTY – Orange County Commissioners will consider a uniform animal control ordinance when the board meets Tuesday.

The county’s Animal Services department is looking to streamline animal control regulations so that the towns and county operate under the same set of rules.

When the board first reviewed the changes last June, multiple dog owners came out to protest.

Many said the changes didn’t take into account different conditions in the rural and urban areas. Others worried that the rules would scrap the unofficial designation of “watchdog,” instead recognizing only trained and registered sentry dogs.

The board will also honor former state senator Ellie Kinnaird for her many years of public service in Orange County.

The board meets at 7 o’clock at the Department of Social Services in Hillsborough.