Officials Fear Rabies Has Returned to Rutherford County - WSPA.com

Officials Fear Rabies Has Returned to Rutherford County

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RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. -

As the weather warms up, you might spot a wild animal or two. But officials say don't get too close.

"When humans and wild animals come in contact with one another it could create a potential hazard," said Lt. Leon Godlock with Rutherford County Animal Control.

A hazard that can be fatal, he adds.

Godlock says since mid-January, officers have encountered five raccoons and foxes exhibiting signs of rabies in Rutherfordton and two in the county.

"It is very unusual," Godlock said.

Health officials say it's a problem that's spreading and people need to be careful.

If a wild animal approaches you, leave it alone.

Officials say the best way to prevent rabies is to get your pet vaccinated.

"When an animal becomes four-months-old, it should be taken to the vet and began its rabies series," according to Nursing Director Helen White of the Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department.

Every year, White says she gets a patient with a bite wound and in need of a precautionary dose of the rabies vaccine.

"We always see more in the spring and summer," White said.

While the reported animals are only suspected of having rabies, animal control believes the cases indicate the start of what could be a very busy season.

Rutherford County Animal Shelter is holding a rabies clinic on March 25 from 11-3 p.m. The shelter is located at 578 Laurel Hill Drive, Rutherfordton.

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