OC Animal Services Reports Rabid Skunk In Rougemont

Orange County Animal Services on Monday confirmed the county’s 22nd case of rabies this year.

The case involved a skunk in Rougemont. A resident who found the skunk in a pen with two dogs killed the skunk and had it removed for testing. One of the dogs showed signs of having fought with the skunk. Luckily, both dogs were current on their rabies vaccinations.

They’ll receive booster shots. The owners will meet with a community health nurse to discuss the possibility of second-hand exposure.

All dogs, cats and ferrets are required to have current rabies vaccinations. Orange County Animal Services will offer low-cost clinics in January 2015. For the full schedule, click here.


Rabid Skunk Is Orange County’s 21st Case This Year

A skunk in Hurdle Mills tested positive for rabies this week, bringing the county’s total to 21 cases this year.

Animal Services officials say a homeowner north of Hillsborough found a dead skunk in a dog pen on Wednesday and had it removed for testing.

The test came back positive, but luckily the two dogs that may have had contact with the animal were up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Both dogs received boosters as mandated by state law.

Rabies cases have spiked in 2014, with nearly two dozen on record. By contrast, the county reported only 12 cases each in 2013 and 2012. Orange County Animal Services will host low-cost rabies vaccination clinics starting in January 2015.


Rabid Skunk Is Orange County’s 20th Case This Year

A skunk in Efland tested positive for rabies this week, bringing Orange County’s total to 20 cases this year.

A woman found the skunk alive and unharmed in her dog’s pen when she went to feed the dog on Tuesday. Animal control officials removed the skunk for testing.

The dog in the pen was not vaccinated, meaning the owners must now choose to either euthanize it, or pay to keep it quarantine for six months.

Orange County Animal Services is offering two low-cost rabies vaccination clinics in September:

-Thursday, September 25, from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Public Market House, 144 East Margaret Lane in Hillsborough.

– Saturday, September 27, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Animal Services Center, 1601 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill.

The cost for rabies vaccinations is $10. Microchips will be offered at the Saturday clinic for an additional $25. Clinic dates for the rest of 2014 are posted at http://orangecountync.gov/AnimalServices/rabies.asp


Another Rabies Case In OC, 19th This Year

A bat tested positive for rabies last Sunday after two dogs found it in a family’s home.

According to Orange County Animal Services, this the 19th positive rabies in the county so far this year – up significantly from 2012 and 2013.

Animal Services director Bob Marotto visited WCHL last week and spoke on the air with Aaron Keck.

Fortunately in this case, there was no direct contact between the dogs and the bat, and both dogs were already vaccinated against rabies. Per state law, they’ll receive a booster shot as a precaution.

Raccoons are the major source of rabies in North Carolina, but bats can actually pose a greater risk to humans because their bites can go undetected.

Click here for dates, times, and information on upcoming rabies clinics.

If you find you may have come into contact with a bat, contain the bat if possible and call Animal Services immediately at 919-942-PETS.


18th Confirmed Rabies Case in Orange County

In addition to the two cases released yesterday, Orange County Animal Services have received another positive rabies test result of the year, bringing up the number of confirmed rabies incidents in the county to 18.

The Director of Orange County Animal Services, Bob Marotto, told WHCL what happened in the latest confirmed case that took place on Tuesday, August 5:

“It involved a fox that was impounded after being killed by some residents in southern part of the county in Carrboro,” says Marotto. “The residents killed the fox because the fox had latched onto the dog in their yard, and would not release the dog. To free the dog from the fox, the folks used some implements to separate the fox and the dog resulting in the death of the fox.”

The Orange County Health Department contacted the dog’s owners to check for risk of human exposure to rabies. The dog involved in this case was currently vaccinated against rabies and will receive a booster shot in accordance with rabies laws in North Carolina.

“I think what I would emphasize is, not only the importance of pet vaccination, and then if there is an exposure, boostering,” says Marotto, “but I think what we want to remind people is to have their pets supervised at all times when they’re outside in order to try and avert situations in which their pets may either pursue a wild animal, or a wild animal may pursue their pets.”

On Thursday, August 14, from 3 – 5 p.m., the Orange County Animal Services Center will host another Low-Cost Rabies Vaccination Clinic. The center is located at 1601 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill. There will be a $10 cost for rabies vaccinations, and microchips will be available for $25.

For more information, please call Orange County Animal Services at 919-942-7387 or click here.


Two More Rabies Cases Confirmed for Orange County

The North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health reports that Orange County Animal Services has encountered two more positive tests for rabies, bringing the number of positive tests for this year to 17.

The last two reported cases involved a fox and a bat.

Director of Orange County Animal Services, Bob Marotto, described the both incidents, beginning with the first incident that took place on Saturday, August 2, when a Carrboro resident’s pet duck was being attacked by a grey fox.

“The fox attacked the duck. The owners separated the fox from the duck with a garden implement,” explains Marotoo. “After chasing the fox away, we have surmised that the fox was hit and killed by a car.”

A different resident contacted Animal Services the following day, which is where Animal Services believe it was the same fox.

On Sunday, August 3, a Carrboro resident found a dying bat on the ground near her home as she was taking her dog for a walk.

“The dog found a bat on the ground and approached the bat; may have nosed the bat,” says Marotto. “The bat was still alive, and the bat apparently showed its fangs to the dog as the dog was near the bat. That bat tested positive [for rabies], as did the fox.”

Marotto encourages that residents of Carrboro and the rest of Orange County keep their pets’ rabies vaccines as up-to-date as possible.

“We often stress the importance of vaccinating our pets as we should, and keeping them currently vaccinated,” says Marotto. “Also, be sure that if there is an exposure to rabies that our pets receive the booster shot required by law.”

On Thursday, August 14, from 3 – 5 p.m., the Orange County Animal Services Center will host another Low-Cost Rabies Vaccination Clinic. The center is located at 1601 Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill. There will be a $10 cost for rabies vaccinations, and microchips will be available for $25.

For more information, please call Orange County Animal Services at 919-942-7387 or click here.


15th Case of Rabies Reported in Orange County for 2014

Orange County Animal Services is reporting the 15th positive test for rabies in the county so far this year.

The latest reported incident comes from Hillsborough, where a resident noticed that her two dogs were hovering over a certain spot in her back yard this past Monday.

The subject of their interest turned out to be a bat. She brought the dogs inside the house and called Animal Services to have the bat removed.

The bat was tested at North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health, and came up positive for rabies.

“It’s the second rabies case we’ve had this year that does involve a bat,” says Orange County Animal Services Director Bob Marotto. “And bats are going to be more active in the summer months. And we know from our past experience, not only here in Orange County, but in North Carolina at large that the number of potential rabies exposures involving bats climbs during the summer months.”

Eleven of the other reported rabies cases in Orange County this year involved raccoons, and the remaining two were a fox and a skunk, according to Marotto.

Reported cases of rabies have gone up since last year, when the total number was 12 – the same as the year before.

Fortunately, the two Hillsborough dogs that came in possible contact the most recently reported rabid bat were up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations, and only required booster shots within five days of the incident.

Otherwise, the risk of rabies exposure would have made it legally mandatory for the dogs to either be destroyed or quarantined for six months.

“For people, we want people to be mindful that bats may be beneficial to our environment as insectivores, and for other reasons,” says Marotto. “But they are rabies carriers, and if we have contact with a bat, we want to be absolutely positive to get medical care.”

Marotto adds that people who come into contact with a bat may not even realize at first if they’ve been bitten, because bat bites are so tiny.

If you have any questions or suspected rabies cases to report, you can call Orange County Animal Services at 919- 942-7387.

A rabies vaccination clinic will take place from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday at Piedmont Feed Center, located at 4805 NC Highway 54 West in Chapel Hill.

The cost for vaccinations is $10 – cash only. A link to the the full clinic schedule is available here.


14th Rabies Case Confirmed, Set to Double 2013 High

Fourteen cases of rabies have been confirmed this year, and since it is only the beginning of June, that number is set to double last year’s total of twelve cases by the end of 2014.

The majority of rabies cases this year have been found in raccoons, and the most recent incident involves a fight between two dogs and a raccoon at a Mebane residence on June 1. The resident shot the raccoon and called Animal Control to remove it for testing. The raccoon was confirmed to be rabid – only one dog was up-to-date on its immunizations.

Director of Orange County Animal Services Bob Marotto advises Orange County residents to take preventative steps to reduce the contact between wild animals and pets, as well as their homes.

Marotto told WCHL frequent attractants for “nocturnal visitors” to residences are remnants of dog or cat food left outside, spillage from bird feeders and places to build dens such as porch or shed spaces. Marotto also advises residents of Orange County to know the frequency of wild animals near their homes and warning signs of rabid animals.

“One of the signs that something is not right with animals exhibiting rabies is that their normal behavior is absent,” Marotto said. “They may approach dogs and people. And if we see abnormal behaviors, we should take special care to remove ourselves and pets.”

If you or your pet encounters an animal believed to be rabid, you should report it to Animal Services immediately by calling 919.942.7387.

It is also advised that pets not be allowed outside without supervision, especially during the summer.

“Bats are another host of rabies and bats become more active during those months of the year,” Marotto said. “But human beings are more active in the summer. Days are longer; our dogs are outside with us in the summer for longer periods of time. So the likelihood of contact between pets and people and wildlife is greater during the summer months.”

The Animal Services Department holds periodic low-cost vaccination clinics throughout the year. Their next one will be held on Saturday, June 14, from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Animal Services Center in Chapel Hill. The cost for rabies vaccinations is $10, and microchips are also offered for $25.

For more information on rabies in Orange County and a full list of 2014 clinic dates, click here.


Rabid Fox In Chapel Hill?

Chapel Hill Police Public Information Lieutenant, Josh Mecimore, says a 911 caller reported being chased by a fox that they believed to be rabid near the Pittsboro Street and Vance Street area. The fox was seen pursuing the victim rather than fleeing, indicating that the animal was potentially unwell.

According to Lt. Mecimore, by the time officers and Animal Control had arrived, the fox was gone, and an area-wide warning was issued.

“We did a Code Red broadcast in that area, asking that folks be on the lookout for the fox, stay away from it; not approach it if they see it.” Mecimore stated. “Clearly, that’s a good idea regardless, but when you’re dealing with an animal that might not be well, it’s especially important.”

While it is still not yet confirmed if the fox is actually rabid, Lt. Mecimore encourages Chapel Hill citizens who encounter the fox to call in.

“Folks in that area need to be aware of the fact that the animal is there, and that there may be something wrong with it, and call us if they come across it.”

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any unwell or possibly dangerous wildlife in the area, please contact Chapel Hill police at 919-968-2760.


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.