BRYAN CO., GA (WTOC) - The Bryan County Health Department urges residents to get their pets vaccinated after a raccoon tested positive for rabies.
The raccoon got into a fight with a family dog in Richmond Hill near Fort McCallister, according to the health department. The dog was up-to-date on vaccinations and will be closely monitored for 45 days, according to the health department.
Rabies is a virus that is largely spread by infected animals and could be potentially fatal.
The health department warns residents to avoid contact with wild or stray animals and to watch for unusual behavior in pets and wildlife.
Georgia law requires pets that are exposed to rabies and haven't been vaccinated against the virus to be euthanized immediately. If the pet owner refuses, the pet must be put under strict, six-month isolation at a designated rabies control facility and the pet owner is responsible the estimated cost of $2,000, according to the health department.
The Bryan County Health Dept. offers these rabies prevention tips:
- Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals by leaving garbage cans open or leaving out pet food overnight.
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
- Teach children to avoid handling unfamiliar animals - wild or domestic - even if they look friendly. "Love your own, leave other animals alone" is a good principle for children to learn.
- Follow the law by keeping vaccinations current for all dogs, cats, and ferrets.
Report any animals that are showing suspicious behavior by calling the Bryan County Animal Control at 912.653.3816.