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Rabid raccoon reported in Haywood County Print

The third confirmed case of rabies in 2011 has been reported in Haywood County, following an incident involving some hunting dogs and a raccoon.

Jean Hazzard, Haywood County Animal Services Director, said the incident occurred Sunday in the Beaverdam area, when the dogs got into a fight with the raccoon. The raccoon was killed and the owner of the dogs reported the incident. Tests on the raccoon came back positive.

As a result of this attack, Animal Services and the Haywood County Health Department are urging county residents, especially those in the eastern part of the county, to make sure that rabies vaccines are current on their pets.

“This is the third positive raccoon in recent months from Newfound to Thickety,” Hazzard said “These animals can be pretty mobile, so we are encouraging pet owners in the Beaverdam, Buckeye Cove, Thickety and other adjacent areas to keep their pets on their property and to make sure rabies vaccines are current.”

Haywood County Health Director Carmine Rocco noted that keeping vaccines current for pets also helped protect all family members from rabies exposure and helped families avoid the expense associated with treatment and keeping pets quarantined.

“People are usually exposed to rabies by animal bites, or when saliva from an infected animal gets into fresh, open cuts in the skin or mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose and mouth,” Rocco said. “Treatment for human exposure to rabies is a series of shots over a period of two weeks. If unvaccinated pets are exposed to rabies, state law requires that the pets be quarantined for a period of six months at the owner’s expense.”

According to North Carolina law, all dogs and cats four months old and older must be vaccinated against rabies on an annual basis. North Carolina courts have ruled that to be in compliance with the law, the rabies vaccination must be administered by a licensed veterinarian. Hazzard said the dogs involved in Sunday’s incident were current on their vaccines, but were expected to receive booster shots.

For more information on rabies in Haywood County, please contact Animal Services at 828-456-5338 or the county Health Department at 828-452-6675. There is also a wealth of information on rabies available on the web from the Epidemiology Division of North Carolina Public Health at www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/rabies/, or from the federal Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/ .

For more information, contact:
David Teague, Public Information Officer
Haywood County

828-452-7305; 828-400-9691 or
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