Rabid Skunk Found - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

03/17/08 - Nacogdoches

Rabid Skunk Found

by Donna McCollum

A skunk, photographed with a home video camera and posted to the internet is staggering around. It looks and acts just like one that was discovered last week in the Nacogdoches Walgreen's parking lot. Animal control officer James Staves had the job of capturing it.  " It was kind of waddling around, crawling in and out of a hole and it was very lethargic and disoriented and having trouble walking. So that was a big red flag right there, right off the bat." A rabies test later confirmed Staves' hunches.

The discovery alarms animal control officers. The animal carrying the potentially deadly illness was found right off North Street and across the fence from an apartment complex where children play. Animal control supervisor Jennifer Jennings said, " To be honest with you, I think the skunks are coming into the city, seeing that we had several, several calls. "

Skunks are active this time of the year. Three weeks ago Ray Shadden trapped several in his back yard off the Old Lufkin Road. Shadden described, " Two of them were so far was old and the other one might have been little more than half grown. " Shadden is concerned for the children who play in the neighborhood.

All skunks aren't rabid, but the animal is prone to rabies. So are bats. When sickly the animals can catch the attention of domestic pets.   Of course, a rabies vaccination is their best protection.   Jennings said, " It's very, very important for the public to know that with cats and dogs if they come in contact with a rabid skunk that their animals can get rabies and even worse than that, if any dog or cat is positive with rabies and it happens to bite somebody that person can contract rabies. "  Rabies vaccinations are smart. It's also the law. Nacogdoches takes it one step farther and requires all dogs within the city limits obtain a city license. Jennings explained, " If we pick up an animal around a rabid skunk and it has that city tag I know the animal is currently on rabies vaccination. "

Should you find a skunk healthy or otherwise in a populated area you're asked to contact your animal control officer. Animal control says skunks are attracted to garbage and pet food. Keep those items well secured so not to attract skunks or any other wild animals.

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