Piedmont couple reunited with dog feared to be quarantined for six months

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. — A Forsyth County couple has their dog back, after fearing it was going to be quarantined for six months.

Michael and April McQueen’s 11-year-old dog Simon was quarantined last week after being sprayed by a skunk.

Simon was reunited with his owners on Thursday.

Simon was reunited with his owners on Thursday.

April McQueen said 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’s owners appealed the decision and Simon was released on Thursday with no reason given.

“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.”

Infected skunks spread rabies through bites or other forms of direct contact, but skunk sprays cannot cause rabies exposure, according to the University of Nebraska.

13 comments

  • Jim

    This “law” is only enforced by a small amount of counties. Unfortunately, animal control in Guilford and Forsyth are two that do enforce it. No matter how ridiculous the circumstances are (such as this one), ACO in both these counties go by the book, with no common sense added. Sad but true, like most governmental enforcement agencies.

  • sophie

    So glad to hear the good news. Anyone who loves their dogs and have dogs that adore them back would have a really hard time being apart, especially with the pet being in quarantine for such a long period of time.

  • H

    I still want to know which vet it was, too. Total jerk, whoever it was. Also, want to know WHY would someone take their dog to the vet just because it got sprayed by a skunk. To get it checked out for what? Some people have way too much money. That being said, so glad this poor dog didn’t have to be separated from his people any longer just because all the people involved in this incident acted stupidly; apparently somebody finally grew a brain.

    • Irisinnc

      The vet is held accountable if something were to happen and they find out the vet didn’t report it. The vet can lose his/her license to practice. As for taking the dog to the vet – I believe April said the dog was sprayed in the eyes and she wanted to make sure there was no damage. April and Michael are good, smart people with a kind heart for animals and are definitely NOT in possession of “too much money.” Instead of ass-u-ming the worst in people, why not hold the news reporter accountable for answering your questions.

  • H

    So, what you’re saying is the vet is just incompetent? “…if something were to happen…”? What would’ve happened? There was never any danger of the dog having rabies. Any vet should know that. Also, it’s just your opinion that your friends don’t have too much money. I have no idea what you think the news reporter has to do with that.

    • Iris

      The reporter could have asked the vet directly, or found out more from any vet, about why there was a need to be so overly cautious when rabies could not have been transmitted this way. What I do know is that the dog left April’s sight for about three seconds; the vet feared the dog could have gotten in contact with the skunk’s saliva in some way. April knew the dog had not gotten close enough to the skunk based on other factors. The vet wasn’t willing to take the chance. Now, I could take the negative route like others, and assume the vet is an idiot. Or, I could be a smidge more open-minded and recognize other possibilities – what if the vet thought April’s story was faulty? what if the vet knew of similar situations and their outcomes? what if the vet knew the risk of losing a license to practice? There are a multitude of possibilities, but we have no idea what the vet was thinking, so to call the vet an idiot or incompetent without all the facts only shows snap judgement and bias on behalf of the accuser. I also believe that, from your responses, I know April and Michael better than you do – my saying they don’t have too much money is far more valid than your blind accusation that they have money to throw away.

  • irisinnc

    Those who will not reason are bigots; those who cannot are fools, and those who dare not are slaves.

  • Susan Barrett

    People need to stop and think. Then they need to read and understand the laws better as they are written. Every law just about in NC has a loop hole ofsome escape or such. This dog esp. of this age let alone only being sprayed and not bitten should have NOT been held anywhere for any amount of time and Forsyth County Animal Control knew this and I would suspect the Vet did as well or should have known this. (If not then the Vet needs to take some time and better read the current statues versus doing what someone tells them.) This is all about money and how NC in any form can collect these fines as most people do not have a good understanding of the current laws. If Forsyth County wants to care for its animals then use some compassion and better judgment here and there. This act of cruelty at the hands of the County has cost taxpayers, the news stations time and the people it reached time and money. Shame on all involved here for taking such extreme lengths for no real reason at all. Maybe Forsyth County Animal Control should spend more time patrolling those poor dogs tethered in the hot sun with no shelter which is a local current County law that they could enforce for the better of all animals versus trying to make a poor example of an 11 year old senior dog that was an innocent party.

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