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Rabid raccoon attacks dogs

A rabid raccoon attacked two dogs at a home on Williams Mill Road near Highway 109 between Zebulon and Meansville addresses. The dogs were in an enclosure at the home of Jayne Midura and Jim Formby when a raccoon crawled into the pen around 6 p.m. March 10. ’The dogs were barking and my husband looked out the window but couldn’t see what was going on,’ said Midura. ‘He walked out and saw one dog was distracting the raccoon. The other dog pounced on it and shook it until she killed it. We immediately thought it was a rabid raccoon because it was out in broad daylight and it crawled over a fence and into the dog pen. Whether it was attacking the dogs or just looking for food, I don’t know.’ Since the office of environmental health was closed, the dead raccoon was taken to Southside Veterinary Hospital. It was determined the animal did in fact have rabies. The two dogs were checked out and since they had their rabies vaccinations up to date, they all received a booster shot and were sent home. Midura was concerned about her dogs since one has lupus that causes permanent abrasions but she said the vet told her that rabies cannot be spread through the blood, only through saliva or spinal fluid. The vet checked each dog closely for any bite marks. ’As a board member of Coco’s Cupboard, I was happy to see the county commissioners pass an animal ordinance because people need to get rabies vaccinations for their animals,’ said Midura. ‘It’s the best thing for their pets and for the environmental safety of Pike County. Incidents like this support the need for the ordinance. Coco’s Cupboard will continue to work with commissioners to make sure it’s strengthened. We hope to get a shelter eventually for the impoundment of animals that may have been bitten by an animal with rabies or for dangerous or vicious dogs.’ Their four dogs were in two separate pens. Graham kept the raccoon’s attention and Scout was able to attack and kill it. Stella and Granger were in an adjoining pen barking. ’Part of me was terrified and part of me was amazed,’ said Formby. ‘It was like they instinctively knew how to tag team the raccoon and kill it.’ The home, which is not far from Highway 109 near a pecan orchard, is in a populated area of the county. ’The dog pen is right up against the house. That concerns me because we have an outdoor cat that was vulnerable and who knows what would have happened had we gotten home earlier,’ said Midura. ‘We do have a lot of woods and we let them run in the woods sometimes but this raccoon came right up to the house. I’m cautioning everyone to be careful.’

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