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Forsyth Co. family tells horror story of letting dog’s rabies vaccination lapse

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. — Michael and April McQueen’s 11-year-old dog Simon is now under quarantine for six months after being sprayed by a skunk last Thursday night.

“He didn’t come in contact with the skunk,” said April on Monday. “He never touched the skunk, the skunk never touched him, he wasn’t bitten, there was no yelp, and there was no scuffle.”

April says she was walking Simon when a skunk sprayed him. As a precaution she took Simon to a veterinarian to be checked out and discovered he was three weeks late on renewing his rabies booster vaccination.

“That’s when I was told they were going to have to contact animal control because his rabies shot had lapsed,” she said. “The next morning I get a call [from animal control] saying they want to quarantine our dog for six months or euthanize him.”

North Carolina law requires pets exposed to animals prone to carry rabies like skunks, foxes, coyotes, bats and raccoons be either euthanized or quarantined, at the owners expense, for six months if their rabies vaccination isn’t up to date.

“It’s due to the fact that rabies can take up to six months before a pet shows signs of the virus,” said Tim Jennings with the Forsyth County Animal Control. “It’s why we stress the importance of keeping pets up to date on their vaccinations.”

Simon is currently being quarantined at an equipped veterinarian office.

“Obviously they want to protect the health of the community,” said Michael McQueen, who plans to appeal the decision because Simon didn’t actually contact the skunk. “You think about a 11-year-old dog, used to living inside with us all these years and is just tossed in a cement 4×6 cage with no contact.”

If the McQueen’s appeal is denied Simon would be required to stay in isolation, without any human or animal contact, till Dec. 6 at a cost of around $3,000.

Veterinarians say rabies boosters vaccinations can easily be overlooked as they are required every three years.

“We just don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” said April. “Life can be busy but make sure your animals are vaccinated and up-to-date.”

88 comments

  • Latina

    If the owners want to prove that the rabies vaccination is still present in the dogs system and then do something about it then they should have a rabies titer performed. Yes the world has titers available for pets. Surprised the vet didn’t tell them that. Come on vets its called client education!!! I feel sad for my education being a vet tech when the drs make all the money yet the techs do all the work. *sigh*

  • Kris Katt

    I fail to see how this vet/animal control officer ‘reasonably’ suspects that this dog had the exposure required by law to impose this on the family & their older dog. There doesn’t even appear to be any reasonable assumption that the skunk was rabid!! The dog wasn’t bitten, scratched or even TOUCHED by the skunk!! He was simply sprayed like countless other dogs in this country. I would be challenging the decision were this my dog… NCGS § 130A-197. Infected animals to be destroyed; protection of vaccinated animals.

    When the local health director reasonably suspects that an animal required to be vaccinated under this Part has been exposed to the saliva or nervous tissue of a proven rabid animal or animal reasonably suspected of having rabies that is not available for laboratory diagnosis, the animal shall be considered to have been exposed to rabies. An animal exposed to rabies shall be destroyed immediately by its owner, the county Animal Control Officer or a peace officer unless the animal has been vaccinated against rabies in accordance with this Part and the rules of the Commission more than 28 days prior to being exposed, and is given a booster dose of rabies vaccine within five days of the exposure. As an alternative to destruction, the animal may be quarantined at a facility approved by the local health director for a period up to six months, and under reasonable conditions imposed by the local health director. (1935, c. 122, s. 14; 1953, c. 876, s. 10; 1983, c. 891, s. 2; 2000-163, s. 4; 2009-327, s. 12.)

  • Emmy

    That’s crazy I live in Pa and got a nasty cat bite and the cat was a year overdue and the owner was given the option to vaccinate and quarantine at home

  • Alison Vanderslice

    Rabies can NOT be spread via skunk spray! If that is truly all that happened release the dog from quarantine! Good grief..and these people who are in animal control and the vets office should know mode of transmission, period!

  • Ashlie

    Heartbreaking!! Eleven years old and confined. Pure cruelty and ignorance. The vet and animal control should be named so all pet lovers can boycott and protect their pets. This poor dog should be titered and spend those six months in his own home.

  • melissa

    Goes to show that people who work in animal care aren’t necessarily knowlegable or else they would have given the dog a titer test instead of subjecting him to 6 months of ‘prison’.

  • luna

    Thig vets dont want u to know is rabis vaccination n boosters such as parvo is good for 7 yrs actuallyt

  • Kim

    This is simply scare tactic marketing. Rabies is contracted through the saliva of an animal and not through urine. Also, a dog that is 11 years old and who has had regular rabies vaccines likely has antibodies for life. Either Animal Control is very stupid and believes this solitary confinement is necessary or the animal and its story is being used as a scare tactic to have more people spend money unnecessarily on vaccines and risk their animal’s health from over vaccinating. Vaccines after all is a significant income for most veterinarian clinics and vaccinosis also generates revenue!

    The dog should have had a titer test done to show it still has antiboties and avoid the quarantine. Either that or hire an animal control with some form of intellect!

    If left locked up without any contact, this animal will never be the same.

  • K C Corun

    Ok, I understand the importance of keeping up with vaccinations. But after 11 years, it would seem Simon would have some resistance to the rabies virus, especially within 3 weeks of his being due. Having contact only through the shunk’s spray, I think euthanasia or quarantine are both extreme measures.
    My opinion: ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS! ♡

  • Linda

    I wonder if this family has insisted on them doing a rabies titer? I’m thinking of calling that animal control myself.. I found the number online, but wonder if they would just hang up on me? This situation is unbelievable …

  • Samuel

    The family needs to start a petition, having one go to the governor as well, filled with the decades of scientific evidence showing the truth about rabies vaccines. At 11 years old, getting vaccinated every 3 years, this dog would NEVER need another vaccination in whatever years remain to him. This is cruel and inhumane and we need to let these people know that instead of basing their decision on almost superstition, that they need to embrace science and recognize the overwhelming evidence of past, and including ongoing studies.

  • Jerri

    Seriously why would he take him to the vet? And why would anyone vaccinate an 11 year dog for anything?? Again a dogs pays for owners ignorance.

  • judy

    Please update us and let us know if this dog has gone home yet. Post the vets name so people don’t continue to use him.

    • willow run

      Yes new story on Front Page…the dog released to owners…they should thank everyone who supported them and how well educated pet owners are now re: the welfare of their animals.! Way to go!

  • Andie M

    Sadly, a majority of people who work at animal control dont know ANYTHING. Absolutely none of them in my county know ANYTHING about animals what-so-ever. Id fight them to the death. What worked for me when they didnt want to give my dog back was telling them I have a friend that works for channel 9 news, and hes gonna meet me at the shelter in an hour to run my story. They gave my dog back in 20 minutes….no charge

  • kathy n

    I WOULD FORCE THEM TO DO A TITER TEST IMMEDIATELY. THIS WILL PROVE THAT THIS DOG HAS MORE THAN ENOUGH ANTIBODIES IN HIM TO PROTECT HIM THE REST OF HIS LIFE. WE ARE OVERVACCINATING OUR PETS. THIS IS PROVEN. SCIENCE HAS ALSO PROVED THAT CELLS REMEMBER AND ONE VACCINE DOES IT FOR LIFE. IF HIS TITER TEST SHOWS CDC LEVELS OF ANTIBODIES, THEN THEY NEED TO LET HIM GO. THIS TEST SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE BEFORE ANY BOOSTER WAS GIVEN. THIS IS INSANITY. STUPID VET, STUPID TECHS. ALL A BUNCH OF IDIOTS.

  • Kobayashi

    And, frankly, a dog three weeks overdue on the rabies vaccine is STILL very well protected by the rabies vaccine. It’s not like the protection ends when the clock strikes midnight!

  • Diane Beatley Danielson

    Come on dog’s family get your fight up, I hope you have not given them your dog.Get another vet to do a rabbies titre your dog is fine and he was not scrathed or bitten. He is 11y and he may not survive this cruelty its totally unnecessary.

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