Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rabies Scare Sends Pets to the Park

Two weekends ago, my friend Beatrice, her handyman Kirk, and my feline niece, Tweetie, were attacked by a rabid fox only a half-block from our house.

This was the second rabid fox attack in the Myers Park neighborhood in as many months, and with the fox habitat destroyed by the start-and-stop construction of the Cascades Park boondoogle, the likelihood is that more foxes going out of their minds in terminal pain from rabies will be coming into our downtown neighborhood and threatening more people and pets.
In an effort to at least take care of one side of the equation, the city and county offered a free rabies vaccination at the Myers Park Recreation Center. And it was unreal! There were so many dogs and cats and barks and meows and people on their cellphones... it was like a pet owners convention. People were in line for over an hour to get their pets the rabies shot. Some had been smart enough to bring a bowl to put water in while they waited in the hot, sticky humidity of a Tallahassee summer day.
But what is still not clear to me is what are our governmental officials planning to do to take care of the rabies problem in Leon County.
Already in 2009, the county has a report of 61 rabies cases, which was the total number of cases for all of 2008. And it has been on the rise steadily over the past four years. That, to me at least, would indicate that there is a problem and it should be tackled. Otherwise, we'll continue to have issues of rabid animals attacking humans and pets in neighborhoods... or in the case of Myers Park, they could cross into down town parking lots and go after state government workers. Then, maybe, it will warrant more attention!
In the case of the attack on my friend and her workman, they don't get free shots to deal with the assault. In fact, the workman... who is in the same position as yours truly (the uninsured American)... he is being forced to pay $1,700, money he simply doesn't have. Why doesn't the county offer free shots to those attacked?!
It seems to be inhumane to simply do nothing to stop the spread of this excrutiatingly-painful disease among the fox population. We are dooming them to a certain death if we don't do something. Why are we not baiting traps with oral vaccines? Especially since we're likely to see rabies move from the foxes to the raccoons to who-knows-what-else. I was once lectured by a man at Leon County Animal Control that the fox is a protected species and has as much right to be in the Myers Park area as I do. Well, that's true: it also has as much right not to be exposed to a deadly virus passed from mammal to mammal! And I, and my pet, have a right to be protected as well.


Anonymous said...

Why don't you make this blog a letter to the Editor for the Tally Democrat. You are right on.


Anonymous said...

Rabies shots cannot be refused to a person attacked by a rabid animal. But the bill will follow...
Talk about adding insult to injury!
Love, Bea

SCG said...

Thanks, Bea, for the comment. I think it's criminal that Kirk has to pay through the nose for something that, in this part of the country, should be made available because there is a greater chance of getting bitten or scratched by a rabid animal.
It's not like drug companies are hurting for money.