Positive Rabies Cases on the Rise in Madison County

Reported by Tiffany Buck.

A record breaking rabies outbreak threatens northeast Georgia families…This afternoon Madison authorities confirmed another case of rabies. That makes twenty-four cases so far this year in Madison County alone — three times more cases than normal.

Your cats and dogs are at risk. You are at risk. Rabies can be deadly if you’re bitten by a rabid animal and don’t seek treatment for it.

Officers at Madison County Animal Control don’t know for sure what’s causing more rabies cases in foxes, raccoons, and mostly skunks, but they have their own theory.

Beth Harmon, animal control officer in Madison County, says ” We think it may be the weather. When we have warmer weather there seems to be more. For what reason, I don’t know. And it’s not just in one area, it’s in all areas. But it seems like warmer weather seems to have an effect on it.”

The best way to protect your pet — keep it vaccinated against rabies. It’s against the law if you don’t and it can be costly.

According to Harmon, “The maximum amount is a thousand dollars and/or sixty days in jail. Normally it doesn’t cost that much, it just depends on what the judge says.”

The biggest reason people don’t keep their pets vaccinated — the cost. But low cost vaccination clinics are offered often to help dogs stay vaccinated against rabies.

Office manager at Athens Humane Society, Leah Trotter says, “We know it’s important and we advocate it and we try to give low cost shot clinics so that everyone gets their animal current.”

Low cost clinics are held often and rabies vaccines begin at just five dollars. Visit http://www.athenshumanesociety.org/pae3.php?page_ID=1278006610#.UnF3vjlpD64 for more information.

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