Keeseville The Clinton County Health Department has confirmed a skunk that attacked three dogs was infected with rabies.
On Oct. 2 the skunk charged through a fenced in pen, attacked three dogs and was then killed by the dogs.
Local law enforcement responded to a call from the owner of the dogs and advised the dog owner to have the skunk tested for rabies. Two of the dogs attacked by the skunk had a current rabies vaccination and received a booster. A third dog was unvaccinated. After the skunk was confirmed rabid, the dog’s owners decided to euthanize it.
This is the second rabid animal in the southern part of Clinton County in the past year. A raccoon in the town of Black Brook tested positive for terrestrial rabies in September.
Tests are currently being done to determine if the skunk had terrestrial rabies. Health Department spokeswoman, Laurie Williams, said terrestrial rabies is a more aggressive type of rabies than the more common strain found in bats.
“This is the first time in 15 years we have seen terrestrial rabies in this county, it’s definitely a game changer for us in Clinton County,” William said. “We believe this skunk had terrestrial rabies because of the way he charged through the fencing to get to these dogs.”
Williams said the health department wants to get the word out about the importance of vaccinating family pets and educating children to stay away from animals that are acting strangely.
The Health Department is currently holding the annual round of fall rabies clinics and an additional clinic will be held at the Keeseville Fire Station on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m.
The rabies clinics are free for all Clinton County residents. Essex County residents and pet owners will not be turned away due to the current rabies situation in that part of the county. Donations are accepted.