A skunk taken on Oct. 27 from Burchette Rd., Manson, in the western part of Warren County, has tested positive for rabies at the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health, according to information released by Warren County Animal Control. 

The skunk was killed by a citizen’s dog after it climbed into the dog’s pen. The dog’s vaccination was not current, and it will be euthanized.

Dani Bowen, animal control director, said that dogs and cats not current on their rabies vaccination that come into contact with a rabid animal have very few options. One option is quarantining the pet for a period 6 months at the owner’s expense; the second is euthanizing the pet.

The majority of wild animals testing positive for rabies in North Carolina continues to be the raccoon, followed by the skunk and fox. The cat continues to surpass other domestic animals, such as the dog and livestock, in testing positive for rabies. 

The feeding and keeping of stray and other unvaccinated cats presents a health risk to communities and the animals themselves; this practice should be halted and discouraged, Bowel said.

According to Bowen, the disposal of food scraps in yards and wooded areas attracts animals in general and is unsanitary. She suggested that citizens dispose of food scraps by composting or placing them in covered rubbish containers to avoid attracting animals. 

North Carolina law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets 4 months of age and older be kept current on their rabies vaccination. Failure to vaccinate pets is a violation of state law and local ordinance and owners can face fines and criminal charges. 

The Warren County Animal Control Department offers 1-year rabies vaccinations Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $5 each at the Animal Ark. 

Warren County Animal Control also offers a field call service to pet owners with 10 or more dogs or cats. Owners may make an appointment to have an Animal Control rabies vaccinator provide vaccinations to animals in kennels, catteries or residences to vaccinate dogs and cats.  

Rabies is a fatal disease that has no cure for animals or humans. Feeding, keeping or harboring of stray cats and dogs increases the risk of rabies being transmitted from stray animals to humans and is highly discouraged by Animal Control.  

Bowen warned that individuals who keep, feed or harbor unvaccinated animals place the animals, themselves and their community at risk of being exposed to this fatal disease.

Unwanted or stray dogs and cats can be reported to Animal Control or brought to the Animal Ark. There is no fee for these services, however; Animal Control has limited resources and responds on a priority basis. 

For more information, contact Warren County Animal Control at 252-257-6137 or visit the Warren County Animal Ark at 142 Rafters Lane, Warrenton.