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Saturday August 29th, 2015 10:46AM

Habersham dogs to be euthanized after contact with rabid skunk

By Rob Moore Reporter
CLARKESVILLE - Two Habersham County pets will have to be euthanized after contact with a rabid skunk in their yard on Dec. 28.

Habersham County Animal Care and Control Director Madi Hawkins said Friday morning the skunk tested positive for rabies and because the dogs were not current on their rabies vaccinations, they will have to be euthanized.

The dogs, described as "a large Labrador and a small chihuahua," immediately were quarantined in isolation at the John B. Gesbocker Animal Shelter of Habersham County, pending test results on the skunk.

"Late last night we got the results," Hawkins said. "Unfortunately, the people are going to have to come in today and sign them over so we can euthanize them."

The initial call was that a skunk was hanging around the house and wouldn't leave. Animal control personnel can only respond if there has been contact between a suspected rabid animal and a pet or human.

"They said it had been hanging around all morning," Hawkins said of the skunk. "They thought it would go away. They caught it messing with their animals and then they called us in the afternoon and we went out."

The exposure with the skunk occurred on Old Stagecoach Road off Bear Gap Road in the Turnerville area.

"We had to call the [sheriff's office] out to shoot it because my guys are not allowed to carry firearms," Hawkins said. "[It took] four shots with a shotgun, one with a pistol, and I still had to euthanize it."

Hawkins reminds pet owners to have their animals vaccinated.

"It's Georgia state law to have them vaccinated to begin with," Hawkins said. "It's more to protect your animal more than it is to protect the people around your animal. Had these dogs been vaccinated, we would have had to do a small isolation period - a small quarantine period - and then they would have been ok."
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