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Roaming Rabid Skunk Bites, Infects Long Valley Dog

Twp. health department warns residents to be on the lookout and take precautions.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo

A potentially stinky situation became very scary this past week, as a Washington Township resident learned the hard way a rabid animal was going after the family's pet.

According to Washington Township Department of Health supervisor Chris Gibbs, a resident on Spring Lane near the intersection of Naughright called to report a skunk was near the family’s home and “acting very unusual,” Gibbs said.

“The resident said the skunk was not afraid of the family dog and began fighting with it,” Gibbs said. The skunk then bit the dog and the township was alerted.

Tests were sent out on Monday to see if the dog had been infected by the skunk. On Tuesday, positive rabies results were returned to the township, and the dog was quarantined per protocol, Gibbs said.

“We strongly urge residents to make sure their dogs and cats are vaccinated each year,” Gibbs said. “Residents also need to be alert and take precaution when approaching or are near wild animals.”

Gibbs also said if a family pet is contacted by a wild animal that may have rabies to not handle the dog or cat right away, so as to not come in contact with the saliva left by the aggressor. If the pet is injured badly and needs immediate attention, the owner should use gloves when handling the animal, Gibbs said. 

12345678 September 01, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Lee Ann, the article does not indicate that the skunk was captured and tested for rabies. So, exactly what kind of testing confirmed the rabies? Also, if the skunk attacked and bit the dog, it could do the same to a groundhog or any other animal. An update here would be nice.
Lee Ann September 01, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Either the dog or the skunk is dead, that's the only proof of rabies. You can not test a live animal for rabies. The Patch doing their best as usual to keep people guessing or bickering.
Kathlyn Carter September 01, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Thank you Lee Ann. I just did some research and you are totally correct. Could you please provide us with further information, Jason, as to how the health department came to the conclusion that the skunk is rabid.
Jason Koestenblatt September 09, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Apologies for the slow follow up to this, folks, and thank you so much for your questions and concerns. Here's more information not just about this incident, but what residents should know about the potentially deadly disease: http://longvalley.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/rabies-endemic-in-long-valley-health-official-says
Not Domino September 23, 2013 at 08:57 PM
If an obviously rabid wild animal such as a skunk, fox, ground hog, etc. shows up in my back yard, and I happen to have a loaded shotgun on standby, is it legal to shoot the animal? The nearest house behind me is about 2,000 feet away, through heavy forest. And repeat the same question for bow and arrow. One of my neighbors had an obviously rabid fox (severely emaciated, wandering aimlessly, and probably on its last leg) in their yard last week.

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