Rabies Confirmed in a Skunk Found in Park

From Pima Animal Care center:

On Saturday, Dec. 9, Pima Animal Care Center recovered a dead skunk from Jessie Owens Park, 400 S. Sarnoff Drive, that tested positive for rabies. Community member Robert Knight, who reported the incident to PACC and secured the dead animal, witnessed several unleashed dogs eating the carcass when he arrived.

At this time, PACC does not know who the unleashed dogs belong to. The PACC officer who responded to the call attempted to locate the dogs, but did not observe any when he arrived. A group of PACC officers and volunteers have started canvassing the area south of east Broadway Blvd, west of S. Camino Seco, north of E. 22nd Street, and east of S. Pantano to notify the community about the confirmed rabies case and possible pet exposure.

Community members who suspect their pet may have had contact with the dead animal or recently visited Jessie Owens Park, should consult their veterinarian. In addition, PACC Chief Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Wilcox recommends residents who live in that area get a booster rabies vaccine for their pets and that they keep them under close observation over the next few days for any changes in behavior.

To date, the Arizona Department of Health Services has confirmed 74 rabies cases in Pima County. Of those, this is the sixth case involving a skunk.

Rabies is a disease caused by the rabies virus.  People can get rabies from contact with the saliva or from a bite or scratch from an infected animal. It may take a few weeks or years for people to show symptoms. However, once symptoms of rabies start, that person or animal usually does not survive.

If you or a family member had contact with a skunk near or at Jessie Owens Park, notify the Pima County Health Department immediately at (520) 724-7797. Staff will help make sure you and your family are not at risk of getting rabies. Also, remember to protect your pets. If your cat or dog is not current on their rabies vaccinations, be sure to vaccinate them as soon as possible.

If anyone has information on the dogs eating the dead skunk at Jessie Owens Park, please notify Pima Animal Care Center by calling (520) 724-5900. Likewise, if you see a skunk, bat or any other wildlife acting oddly or on the ground, do not touch it. Stay away and immediately notify the PACC. It is not normal for a wild animal to be friendly with people, so stay away from any animal that seems unafraid.