Rabies is “the most deadly virus on the planet.”
Six dogs fought with a rabid raccoon, and now they have to be euthanized, Cumberland County officials said.
Cumberland County Animal Control officers went out to Hope Mills, North Carolina, just south of Fayetteville, Monday to investigate the raccoon attack, according to a press release.
They found the body of the raccoon nearby, and it tested positive for rabies, officials said.
The dogs’ owner said they were not vaccinated for rabies, the release said. “The six dogs are now quarantined at the Cumberland County Animal Shelter,” according to the release. The owner “surrendered all six dogs to be euthanized.”
“By state law, these dogs will have to be euthanized or quarantined at a veterinary hospital for four months, which costs thousands of dollars,” Cumberland County Animal Control Director Elaine Smith said in the release.
“The consequences of exposure to rabies are extremely serious. People need to take rabies seriously and get their pets vaccinated and make sure the vaccinations are up to date,” she said.
This is Cumberland County’s second confirmed rabies case this year, the county said. A fox in the county tested positive for rabies in May.
The county cautioned people to keep their distance from wild animals and stray cats and dogs.
Animal control officials said the first symptom of rabies in animals will be changing behavior.
“Animals may become aggressive, attack for no reason or become very quiet. Wild animals can lose their fear of people and act tame. Rabid animals may walk in a circle, drag a leg or fall over. Some cannot swallow so they are not able to eat or drink and often drool. Animals usually die within a week after first becoming ill,” according to the release.