Posted: May 19, 2012 3:54 PM by Lacey Steele
Updated: May 21, 2012 10:21 AM
The rabies outbreak in Pueblo that began with skunks is now spreading to household pets.
Several have had to be put down, so the city and county are taking action.
"Numerous skunks found in the city and in the county that are rabid," said Heather Maio, Director of Environmental Health for the Pueblo City-County Health Department.
Thirteen skunks have tested positive.
"We don't want children messing with wildlife at all, especially wildlife that's acting strangely ferocious or exceedingly tame out in the daytime when they shouldn't be," said Maio.
These rabid skunks are also getting into yards and affecting pets.
"We have to make some decisions on whether those dogs are in need of going into quarantine for 90 days, at least $10 a day, so that's $900 versus an $8 shot," said Maio.
That shot is a vaccination, and many pet owners this weekend decided to take advantage of a low-cost vaccination clinic.
"Some people are not aware of the rabies requirement, the rabies vaccination requirement, and now is the time because it could cost you your pet's life if you don't take care of it now," said Maio.
Thirteen dogs have already been euthanized and around 40 pets have been placed in quarantine.
"If your pets are part of your family, then you need to take care of them like they are," said Ronnie Blea, owner of several dogs. "We got lucky. We just moved here and heard about this on the news, so we came down."
It's important to remember, the vaccination can mean more safety for your entire family.
"Rabies is fatal to humans," said Maio. "There's very few cases, maybe one or two, where someone has lived."
Remember, whether it's acting mean or tame, never approach wildlife.
Another low-cost rabies vaccination clinic will be held Sunday afternoon (May 20, 2012) at the Southern Colorado Spay and Neuter Clinic beginning at one.