Thursday, December 22, 2005
That's Just Wrong: Rabies
Every year, South Floridians spend millions of dollars to get their pets vaccinated. But one local woman doesn't understand why she also has to pay to have her dogs quarantined when they were bitten by a wild animal. She believes not only are the charges just wrong, so are the conditions at the shelter.
WSVN--Denise Langella is just like the rest of us. Her dogs Isabella and Simon are more than pets...They're family.
Denise: "It's OK."
But when the three of them recently went on a walk...Something most unusual occurred - they were attacked by a crazed raccoon.
Denise: "And the Raccoon came out from under the car and attacked the dogs. Ran away...came back again and he did it four or five times. We were screaming and yelling at it to go away and finally it got to the point where I took my shoe and I'm going like this hitting it."
Unfortunately, Denise didn't act soon enough. Both dogs were bitten and so was she.
Denise: "The dogs were traumatized. I was a wreck because I'm not a nature person. I'm from the city so it was traumatizing."
Denise was fine after getting a shot. Her vet said the dogs would also be ok because they were vaccinated. She didn't even worry until the Broward County Health Department showed up.
Denise: "They said because the dogs had been bitten, they would take the animals and quarantine them at animal control for 45 days. Or I could quarantine them at home."
Denise chose option "b." she started to quarantine the canines at home...Until the county insisted on sheltering the animals itself. Now if that wasn't upsetting enough, Denise was charged to have the dogs quarantined... And when Isabella and Simon came home, they were well...sick as a dog.
Denise: "Both of them have kennel cough. They've been dipped for ticks and both of them have to go back again."
As any pet owner could imagine, Denise says the way her pets were treated - that's just wrong. She doesn't understand why she has to pay to have her dogs vaccinated every year...If she has to pay to have them quarantined.
Steve Dennison: "The animals are quarantined even if they've had a rabies shot, as a protective mechanism. Just to make sure that if they are exposed to a rabid animal, that they will not come down with it."
Denise also maintains the county hasn't addressed the real issue. She doesn't understand why no one's made an attempt to trap the rabid raccoon.
Steve Dennison: "You don't know if you capture a raccoon the next day if it's the same one. So capturing the animal really would be a false sense of security."
But Broward County isn't ignoring the problem. Instead, it is trying to get all wild raccoons to eat bait that has the rabies vaccine. Meanwhile...Isabella and simon are still sick. Denise hopes antibiotics will cure their cough...And they can soon go on walks like they used to.
Denise: "I really think animal control did what they could. But they really don't have the staff or the resources to do what they have to do."
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