Rabies cases high for 2008 in Hanover

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - Two local counties are high on a list you don't want to make: positive rabies cases. Statistics show Henrico and Hanover counties combined had more than 40 cases of rabies. 

Those numbers aren't even final yet. Virginia Health Department records show as of mid-December, Hanover had 24 and Henrico 20 rabies cases, so we could see higher numbers once the final tally comes in. 

But, more than 40 cases in those highly populated counties is enough to worry local pet owners. 

Ashland resident Tim Dowdle says his dog's health is a top priority that's why he stays up to date on all of Aspen's shots. Dowdle says, "I get him vaccinated, he just got vaccinated actually because he was due."

By law in Virginia, you must have your cats and dog vaccinated once they reach four months of age. 

In 2007, Hanover had 30 confirmed rabies cases, and at last count, 24 in 2008. 

That's why Dowdle, and the other Hanover County pet-owners we met at the dog park say even if it that wasn't the law, it's way too risky to not protect your pet from rabies, especially in an area where wild and domestic animals interact frequently.
Most of these people see wildlife in their yards on a regular basis.

"A couple raccoons and stuff like that I know they carry rabies sometimes," says Dowdle.

Peggy Bass recently adopted Toby, who is still a puppy. She says her family doesn't take any chances with their newest edition. Bass says, "Although we don't let him run loose there's always a chance of contact with other animals."

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