Late in the day on March 16, 2009, a skunk entered a property near the Seth Hyatt-Pleasant Hill Road area off Chatsworth Highway in Gilmer County. This site is approximately ten miles northwest of the Nine Mile Methodist Church location where a penned horse killed a rabid skunk early last week.
"The skunk that was tested this week was very aggressive, killing one dog - a Chihuahua - and it also injured a Chihuahua Fox Terrier Mix," reported Andrea Wheeler of the Gilmer County Environmental Health Department. "The owner of the dogs killed the skunk on-site, and the state laboratory tested the skunk for rabies on March 18. Unfortunately, the injured Chihuahua Fox Terrier Mix was not vaccinated against rabies."
Gilmer County Environmental Health officials received the positive test results on March 19 and delivered the results to the owners of the unvaccinated dog that same day. The owners had to make the painful decision as to whether they would have the Chihuahua Fox Terrier Mix euthanized or strictly quarantined for six months - they had the dog euthanized late on March 19.
Ms. Wheeler said, "Owners are urged to keep their animals up-to-date on rabies vaccinations, even if your pet is an 'inside pet'. Just one brief instant with a rabid animal can lead to a tragic outcome.
"Officials remind residents to maintain rabies vaccinations in all their pets and livestock, and they should always avoid all unfamiliar animals.
For more information about rabies and rabies prevention, contact the Gilmer County Environmental Health Department at (706) 635-6050, or log onto the CDC website at www.cdc.gov.