Murray County health officials warn of rabies after rabid skunk found

MURRAY COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) — North Georgia health officials are warning the public to make sure their pets are vaccinated after a rabid skunk was found dead in a Murray County neighborhood.

Neighbors say this isn’t the first rabid wild animal has been found in the neighborhood. This time, health officials say two pet dogs were exposed to the disease, and they’re working to eliminate any potential spread to the rest of the area.

Marley the German Shepherd lives in the neighborhood behind Eton Elementary School, just doors away from where health officials say a rabid skunk was found dead in a backyard.

Officials believe that two pet dogs might have killed the skunk, and were therefore exposed to the disease.

And some neighbors are worried the lax polices of other pet owners might cause the disease to spread.

“We’ll be driving around the neighborhood going somewhere and see like a bunch of dogs running around,” Corina Ray said.

“Even though Marley can’t leave the yard, they can still come in the yard, and they do. They come in from the back and they come in from the front. So no matter how hard we try to keep Marley safe, the rest of the neighborhood and the public’s not keeping their dogs safe then it’s like a losing battle,” Nina Ray added.

That’s why the North Georgia Health District is urging everyone, especially in this area, to vaccinate *all their animals, including livestock.

“It’s definitely been on the upswing, the uptick a little bit,” Environmental Health County Manager Jason Osgatharp said. “So we canvased the neighborhood and made sure that everyone knew what had happened. That rabies is very close to home, and everybody needs to make sure that their animals are boosted against rabies and that their vaccinations are up to date. Everyone needs to know about this.”

According to the health department, no humans have been exposed to the disease. And the two dogs will have to be in quarantine for 45 days.

Rabies vaccinations are available at your local veterinarian and other pet clinics.

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