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Family quarantines dogs after brush with rabid raccoon

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — A local family must quarantine two of their dogs for six months after the pets may have been exposed to rabies.
Brandon Cupp, who lives on Hill Top Drive, reported to Rowan County Animal Control on Nov. 25 that his family’s two pet dogs and a stray came into contact with a raccoon.
“I came outside and saw the raccoon dead and laying in the yard,” Cupp said. “We’ve had a stray dog running around the neighborhood, and it has been notorious for dragging stuff up into our yard.”
The pets were found near the dead animal and were not current on their rabies vaccinations, so they were placed into quarantine at the animal shelter.
Cupp said it’s important to keep up with dogs’ vaccinations, but he and his wife misunderstood the schedule for those two.
One of the dogs, a labrador retriever and pit bull mix named Lileigh, was last vaccinated in Oklahoma before Cupp’s family moved. He said they thought it was a three-year shot, but it actually was a one-year shot that expired in February.
Cupp said he was waiting to vaccinate the other dog, a catahoula named Camo, until the puppy was 6 months old. But North Carolina law requires that dogs and cats be vaccinated at the age of 4 months.
“The lady at the vet’s office said most people think it’s 6 months on a puppy,” Cupp said. “We try to be responsible and keep them up to date on everything.”
On Nov. 29, a rabies test on the raccoon came back positive for rabies. The stray dog, a male German shepherd and fiest mix, was euthanized after no one claimed ownership of it.
Cupp’s beagle, Mr. Bojangles, was current on its rabies vaccination and is allowed to stay at home.
The other dogs may have been infected by the raccoon, even though none of Cupp’s three had visible bite or scratch wounds.
If a pet is exposed to rabies, animal control is required by state law to either quarantine it for six months or euthanize it.
Cupp asked to have the dogs transferred to the Salisbury Animal Hospital to be quarantined for six months.
He said keeping the two pets at the animal hospital costs roughly $1,000 a month, but the family would rather pay that price than have them euthanized.
“If they got hit by a car and broke their leg, we’d be willing to spend the money to get one of their legs fixed, even if it costs couple thousand dollars,” Cupp said. “So we’re looking past the cost of quarantining our dogs. … They’re part of our family.”
He said his wife and two children got post-exposure vaccinations for safety’s sake, but he did not.
“I made the dogs get in the backyard, locked them up, and didn’t touch them,” Cupp said. “But the kids went outside of the house first, and they weren’t sure if the dog licked them or anything. They couldn’t remember.”
Cupp said it was tough for the family to send the dogs away, but his children, who are 4 and 7 years old, are handling the situation well.
“They don’t understand a lot of it,” he said. “They just know the dogs have to go away… and they have to have shots.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
Twitter: twitter.com/postcopolitics
Facebook: facebook.com/Karissa.SalisburyPost

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