A local family is sounding the alarm so that what happened to them, does not happen to you. It's because there are now 3 confirmed cases of rabies in Columbia County, all within just a few miles of each other in Harlem.
This a YouTube video that shows what could be a rabid raccoon hanging out on someone's back porch. It's a sight very similar to the one Daniel Cosby saw in his back yard a few weeks ago.
"I ran outside to shoe it off and to see what was up. It turned around and started growling at me," Cosby says.
He says the raccoon attacked and bit his 8-year-old dog Bo minutes before he ran outside. Next, Cosby says he shot and killed the raccoon, and called animal services. Just last week, the raccoon tested positive for rabies and because Cosby's dog Bo wasn't up to date on his rabies vaccination, animal services gave Cosby some bad news.
"The dog either has to be quarantined for 6 months and it could have it or could not, but it would be a slow painful death if he has it. And I'm pretty sure that he had it so I told them to ahead and euthanize him," Cosby says.
According to the CDC, there is no cure for rabies and it is almost always fatal. The virus is spread by contact with the saliva of an infected animal. Symptoms of rabies include: weakness, anxiety, aggression, excessive salivation and seizures.
"I feel real bad losing my dog, but I tried to make the best decision so he didn't have to suffer," Cosby says.
Georgia state law says that all dogs, cats and ferrets need to be vaccinated against rabies. It's something that Columbia County Animal Services enforces every day.
"Pet owners need to make sure that their animals are current on their rabies vaccinations at all times. Making sure that the animals go back to the vet every 1 year or every 3 years depending on the vaccination that was originally given," Animal Services Operations Manager Daniel Mayne says.
It's a message that Cosby is also trying to spread.
"We never thought that it would happen to us, but it sure did," Cosby says.
If you see a wild animal with abnormal behavior... or if your pet is attacked by a wild animal, call animal services as soon as possible.
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