Healthy people, families, and communities.


Spring is a good time of year to get your dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies. Usually, there will be discount rabies vaccination clinics at different locations and times on certain Saturdays during April, May or June. Check with your local environmental health office, veterinary clinic or other sponsoring organization for specific dates, times and locations. Rabies vaccinations are offered at a significant discount and other kinds of pet vaccinations can normally be obtained at the same time.*

     Vaccinating your pet against rabies may save the life of your dog or cat and protect you and your family against this fatal disease. Rabies is always present, to some extent, in various wildlife species such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, bobcats, bats, coyotes and other carnivores. A typical rabies case involves a rabid raccoon coming into the yard of a home and fighting with a pet dog or cat. If the pet has not been properly vaccinated against rabies, our first recommendation is to euthanize the dog or cat. The only other alternative would be to put the pet in strict quarantine inside a double enclosure for six months with no human contact. This is very poor repayment to your pet for protecting your family from a rabid wild animal.

     Do the right thing for your pets and your family by having your dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies at your local public clinic this spring.

     It is also the law that your pets be vaccinated (Rabies Control Law-O.C.G.A-31-19).

     Veterinarians are always available to vaccinate your animals any time of year. Valuable livestock such as cows, horses, sheep and exotics such as llamas or alpacas can also be vaccinated against rabies.

     If you think you, your pets or livestock may have been exposed to the rabies virus, you can get information and guidance from your county health department, veterinarian, county animal control or the Georgia Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. Other basic information on rabies exposure can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at


*Click here to see details about the 4-H Rabies Vaccination Clinic in Murray County on Saturday, April 26

Murray Car Seat Safety Check 2014***Due to Weather-related conditions, this event had to be cancelled for today - A New date will be determined***

Get your child’s car seat checked for FREE at the Murray County Health Department on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Murray County Health Department is located at 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road in Chatsworth.

Child Passenger Safety Technicians will be on hand to check child car seats and child restraint installations to make sure they are properly installed.

Buckling up your child the right way for every ride is the most important thing you can do to keep your child safe in the car, so join the Murray County Health Department, the Murray County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia State Patrol for this free child car seat check event!

For more information, call the health department at (706) 695-4585.

(Click here to view/download a printable poster and share!)

Dalton (GA) - The Whitfield County School Board voted to revise the school district's tobacco policy for both students and staff at their monthly meeting last evening. With a 4-0 vote (one board member was absent), the verbiage in the policy now better reflects the actual procedures that have been followed in the school system for many years. Under the new policy, no student, staff member or school visitor is permitted to use any tobacco product at any time on school property or at school events. The revised policy also bans the use of electronic cigarettes, better known as e-cigarettes.*

The school board began considering changing the policy several weeks ago when Girl Scout Brownie Troop 12617 of New Hope Elementary School, assisted by the North Georgia Health District, made an appeal to School Superintendent Dr. Judy Gilreath to "make Whitfield County Schools recognized as a Georgia model 100 percent tobacco-free school district." The troop attended the school board meeting last evening to provide a presentation to the board prior to the vote.

"Although Whitfield County Schools has been a tobacco free system since 2001," said Dr. Gilreath, "the revised policy will bring us more in line with the state criteria required in order to be officially designated by the state as tobacco free. It is so encouraging to see this young troop of girls actively involved in making our community healthier for all of us. Troop 12617 and their adult leaders are to be commended for leading this effort."

Waleska (GA) – Cherokee County Animal Control officials reported to the Cherokee County Environmental Health office last week that a raccoon should be tested for rabies after it bit a dog in Waleska, Georgia.

According to Curtis Barnhart, Cherokee County Environmental Health Manager, a resident on Pleasant Arbor Road in Waleska shot the raccoon on April 5 because it was on the resident’s property behaving aggressively. The raccoon then lunged at the resident, who remained unharmed, but the dog was bitten in the process of defending its owner. The resident immediately took the dog to be treated by a veterinarian and called Animal Control to remove the dead raccoon.

Environmental health sent the raccoon specimen to the Georgia State Public Health Laboratory for rabies testing on April 7, and the positive result was returned on April 9.

The dog was current on its rabies vaccination; therefore, the dog only needed a booster shot and it will be quarantined at home for 45 days.

Health officials urge residents to protect against rabies by maintaining rabies vaccinations in their pets and to avoid contact with all unfamiliar animals, both domestic and wild.

For more information about rabies and its prevention, call the Cherokee County Environmental Health Office at (770) 479-0444 or log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at


The annual rabies clinic hosted by 4H in Cherokee County will be held this weekend. For details, go to their website and open their April 2014 Newsletter: