Rabies quarantine includes Williams

Dogs, cats now must be confined or leashed

To comply with the rabies quarantine imposed last week by the county, Williams dog and cat owners will be required to confine pets and provide proof the animals have current rabies shots.

The 90-day quarantine takes in a 35-mile radius from the center of Flagstaff and went into effect May 1. Coconino County Board of Health declared the quarantine to combat a rabies outbreak in Flagstaff among skunks.

Trevor Harrison, Williams animal control officer, explained how it will affect dogs and cats here.

“Every dog and cat must be current with their rabies shots, and they must be exercised on a leash,” Harrison said. “Any dog I catch at-large in Williams will be transported directly to the humane society in Flagstaff.

“To get it out, the dog owner will need proof of rabies inoculation and a city pet license.”

Harrison checked with the Coconino Humane Association to find out what fees will be imposed if a dog ends up there. It will cost $10 for a rabies shot, $35 for a redemption fee, $5 for each day confined and $5 for a city license.

Cats transported there will cost $10 for the rabies shot and $5 per day. There is no redemption fee for cats or city license requirement.

Rabies is caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. All mammals including humans are susceptible. Rabies is transmitted by contact with saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite wound.

Individuals who think they have been exposed to rabies should contact a doctor or the local health department.

County stance

Barbara Worgess, Coconino County Department of Health Services director, issued a written statement to the county board of health on April 27 explaining why the rabies quarantine is needed.

She started out by citing 16 rabid skunks have been documented between Jan. 10 and April 26 in Flagstaff. All but one of these rabid skunks were in the Fox Glenn area of southeast Flag. The other was in University Heights on the west side of town.

“This is a large number of positive skunks under any circumstances, but terrestrial rabies (in mammals that walk on the ground) has not been found in Coconino County previously,” Worgess said. “Fortunately, there has not been any human exposure, nor are we aware of any exposure to domestic animals.”

State, county and municipal agencies have joined forces to trap skunks in Flagstaff, give them rabies shots and monitor skunk populations.

“During an intense period, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide four (county) staff with 400 traps to implement the program,” Worgess said. “Traps will be set within the defined target area, both on public land and private property where possible.

“All skunks captured will be vaccinated, tagged and then released, unless the skunk has the appearance of being sick, in which case the skunk will be euthanized and tested for rabies.”

However, both individuals and pest control companies are prohibited from trapping skunks and transporting them out of Flagstaff.

Harrison said no skunk trapping will go on in Williams, but he will be collecting skunk roadkill to transport remains to Flagstaff for testing.

In addition, Worgess said additional rabies clinics will be held to enable pet owners to get their pets vaccinated.

The humane society will hold a rabies clinic 1-4 p.m. Saturday at Sinagua High School, 3950 E. Butler Ave., Flagstaff. Call 526-1076 for more information.

Plateauland Mobile Clinic will hold a spay/neuter and immunization clinic 8 a.m.-5 p.m. May 17 at the city parking lot (Railroad Avenue and Grand Canyon Boulevard). An appointment must be made to have an animal spayed or neutered. Immunizations don’t require an appointment and get underway at 10 a.m. City licenses will be on sale. For more information, call Plateauland 226-9312.

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