The Orange County Animal Services Department received its fourth positive rabies result of the year, the county said Thursday afternoon, after receiving information from the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health.
Last year, the County recorded 12 positive cases.
On Monday, a resident in the vicinity of 15-501 and Bennett Road in Chapel Hill heard his dog barking and then fighting with an unseen animal at a nearby creek, the county said in a news release. Moments later, his dog returned to the yard carrying a dead raccoon. Animal Control responded to the house and removed the raccoon for testing.
"Prevention is the best measure for effective rabies control," said Bob Marotto, director of Animal Services. "Ensuring cats, dogs and ferrets are current on their rabies vaccinations is one of the most important responsibilities of a pet owner, since it can quite literally be the difference between life and death."
Fortunately, the dog in this case was currently vaccinated against rabies and will receive a booster shot pursuant to North Carolina statute. According to the state's rabies law, if there is "a reasonable suspicion of exposure," a dog or cat with a current vaccination must receive a booster shot within 120 hours (5 days). By contrast, an unvaccinated animal must either be destroyed or quarantined for a period of six (6) months.