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 4x6 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."