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Raccoon gives rabies to Long Co. dog
Officials remind pet owners of vaccines
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A companion dog that was not up to date on his rabies vaccination and got into a fight with a raccoon that tested positive for rabies has been placed under strict, six-month isolation. The altercation occurred in Long County. As a result, officials with the Environmental Health Division of the Liberty County Health Department encourage all residents to take proper precautions against rabies.
Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. Residents should avoid contact with wild or stray animals, watch for unusual behavior in pets and wildlife and get pets vaccinated against rabies.
“If a pet comes into contact with a rabid animal and contracts the virus, that pet could pass the disease to humans,” Environmental Health Director of the Liberty County Health Department Linus Woodard said. “That’s why pet vaccination is an important line of defense. Not vaccinating your pet puts you, your pet and others at risk.”
Rabies can be transmitted through the bite, scratch, or saliva of an infected animal. The disease attacks the central nervous system and is often fatal. Rabies is carried by raccoons, bats, skunks, foxes and other mammals. Because family pets may encounter wild animals carrying the disease, it is extremely important to get pets vaccinated annually. It is also Georgia law.
The Environmental Health Division of the Liberty County Health Department offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:
• Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out overnight.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
• Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.
• Keep vaccinations up to date for all dogs, cats and ferrets. It’s the law and it’s an important protection for you and your pets.
Call Liberty County Animal Control at 876-9191 to report any animals that exhibit suspicious behavior. Animal Control will work with the Liberty County Health Department to investigate possible cases of rabies. If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately.

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