Emergency rabies clinic announced after skunk remains test positive

Published 3:00 pm Thursday, February 23, 2023

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GREEN CREEK–Polk County Sheriff’s Office Division of Animal Control has notified Polk County Health and Human Services Agency that on February 19, 2023 they retrieved the remains of a deceased skunk in the vicinity of Tanner Road in Green Creek.

The skunk had been observed attacking several animals in the area prior to its death. Polk County Animal Control sent the remains of the skunk to the North Carolina State Lab and the remains tested positive for rabies.

“Rabies can lead to severe health outcomes for both humans and animals. We appreciate Polk County Animal Control’s and community members’ efforts in reporting the incident,” said Polk County Health and Human Services Agency Director Joshua Kennedy.

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The CDC lists symptoms of rabies in animals as: early symptoms of lethargy, fever, vomiting, and anorexia and progressing to nerve and brain dysfunction, cranial nerve dysfunction, ataxia, weakness, paralysis, seizures, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, abnormal behavior, aggression, and/or self-mutilation.

“Rabies in animals is preventable through routine vaccination efforts. In addition to your local veterinarian, the Polk County Animal Control hosts routine vaccination clinics for the public and their pets and we encourage pet owners to take advantage of the opportunity,” said Polk Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Officer Patti Lovelace.

You can prevent the spread of rabies and keep your pets safe by following these guidelines:

  • Let Public Health, the hospital or your doctor know if you have been scratched or bitten by or have handled an animal that could be rabid;
  • Do not approach or touch a wild animal or an animal that could be rabid;
  • Ensure pets are up to date on rabies vaccinations. If your pet is suspected of contact with a rabid animal, do not handle/clean the bite with bare hands, call your veterinarian, and revaccinate, even if up to date; and
  • Keep pets away from stray or wild animals

Anyone observing a wild animal or pet displaying symptoms of rabies should call Polk County Animal Control at, 828-894-3001.

Because of this deceased skunk, Polk County Animal Control will host an emergency rabies clinic from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, at Green Creek Fire Department on Hwy 9.

The cost for the rabies shot is $10 (including equines). For more information call 828-817-7984.

In order to obtain this shot, animals must have a current rabies certificate for a three-year vaccine, dogs must be on a harness or slip leash, and cats must be in crates.

In accordance with NC General Statute 130A-185, all dogs, cats, and ferrets must be kept currently vaccinated against rabies. Although it is not required by law, horses should be kept currently vaccinated also.