Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Media Contact

Robert A. Marotto, Director

Orange County Animal Services

Phone: 919.968.2287


ORANGE COUNTY, NC (May 29, 2013)—The Orange County Animal Services Department received its sixth positive rabies result of the year, from the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health. Last year, the County recorded 12 positive cases.

The case originated on Friday, May 24, when a resident and her dog were walking on the Eno River Trail in Durham.  Moments after hearing a noise from under a nearby tree, the two were aggressively approached by a raccoon.  The dog reacted defensively and was injured as a result of killing the raccoon. Since this happened on the Orange County side of the Eno trail, Orange County Animal Control responded and removed the raccoon for testing.

“Prevention is the best measure for effective rabies control,” said Bob Marotto, director of Animal Services.  “Ensuring cats, dogs and ferrets are current on their rabies vaccinations is one of the most important responsibilities of a pet owner, since it can quite literally be the difference between life and death.” 

Fortunately, the dog in this case was currently vaccinated against rabies and will receive a booster shot pursuant to North Carolina statute.  According to the state’s rabies law, if there is “a reasonable suspicion of exposure,” a dog or cat with a current vaccination must receive a booster shot within 120 hours (5 days).  By contrast, an unvaccinated animal must either be destroyed or quarantined for a period of six (6) months.

A Communicable Disease Nurse from the Orange County Health Department is contacting the animal owner to evaluate her risk of rabies exposure. At issue is whether there is the possibility of secondary exposure from the owner handling her own dog after the incident.  A decision about the post-exposure prophylaxis that protects people from rabies is based upon an assessment of all the factors involved in this type situation.

Rabies is rooted in reservoir species, such as raccoons and bats. If there is any possibility of exposure, citizens should immediately call Animal Control or 9-1-1.


The 2013 Low-Cost ($10) Rabies Vaccination Clinics are underway and the next clinic will take place on Saturday, June 15, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Animal Services Center in Chapel Hill.  The cost for rabies vaccinations is $10.  For future clinic dates, please visit www.

For more information, please call Orange County Animal Services at 919.942.7387.


  • It is a law in North Carolina that dogs, cats and ferrets older than four months must have a current and valid rabies vaccination at all times
  • Orange County’s ordinance also requires that all pets wear a rabies vaccination tag
  • Pets with current rabies vaccinations that may have been exposed to rabies must be revaccinated within five days (120 hours) or they will be treated as unvaccinated pets
  • Unvaccinated pets that may have been exposed to rabies must either be destroyed or quarantined at a veterinary office for six months at the owner’s expense
  • Rabies can be transmitted through secondary exposure as well, so do not touch your animal without gloves if it has had any possible exposure to a rabies vector
  • If a rabies suspect is alive, do not attempt to capture the animal.  Keep visual contact with the animal until Animal Control arrives. 
  • If you discover a bat inside your house, be sure not to release it, but do remove yourself and any animals from the area
  • Always call Animal Control immediately if you find a bat in your home even if there is no evidence of a bite.  



Carla Banks

Director of Public Affairs

Orange County Government

200 S. Cameron Street

Hillsborough, NC 27278


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