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Shelter Put Down Family Dachshund After Skunk Attack

The dog hadn't been rabies-vaccinated, and was scratched by a skunk. The dog then nipped his Long Beach family member, who was treated at Los Alamitos Medical Center.

A Long Beach family's dachshund was put to sleep by regional animal control officials because it had been scratched on its nose by a wild skunk, then nipped the finger of a family member, and apparently had not been inoculated against rabies, it was reported Sunday.

The Long Beach Press-Telegram said the owners of Coco were devastated that their pet was humanely killed, after they say animal control officers impounded the dog with a promise he would not be killed unless he developed rabies.

A manager for Long Beach Animal Care Services, which operates the P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village that serves the region including Cerritos, Los Alamitos and Downey--said state law requires euthanizing animals that come into contact with possible rabies carriers that then bite humans. The other choice is to put them in a strict six-month quarantine, but it was not clear why that was apparently not considered.

The skunk escaped into the neighborhood, and rabies tests for exposed pets are considered unreliable unless they include a necropsy of an animal's brain, the village officials said.

``Coco was the family dog,'' owner Robert DeSimone told the Press Telegram. ``I'm incredibly sad and angry that he's gone now.''

DeSimone told the newspaper that Coco went into backyard bushes on June 12 to chase a skunk, and emerged with a scratched nose. The next day, the dachschund nipped DeSimone's finger during a scolding. The finger became infected, DeSimone went to Los Alamitos Medical Center for treatment, and a medical worker called the animal control office because of the rabies risk.

``I was told (the dog) was going to be quarantined for 10 days,'' he was quoted by the Press-telegram as saying. The next day, Coco was euthanized.

``Since we could not locate or test the skunk, a high risk for rabies, we had to assume the dog was exposed and treat him that way,'' said Ted Stevens, the acting director for Long Beach Animal Care Services. ``Due to the exposure to a skunk, no current rabies vaccine and no immediate vaccination after the incident with the skunk, we were left with little choice to require euthanasia,'' he was quoted as saying by the Press-Telegram.

The DeSimone family members said they were not notified that an extreme and expensive vaccination could have been employed immediately after the skunk scratch. Killing a non-vaccinated animal can be avoided if the pet is immediately vaccinated and then placed in strict quarantine -- a cage -- for six months.

Stevens said the incident shows the importance of keeping rabies vaccinations up to date, and keeping records handy. Dogs, cats and other mammals that come into contact with possibly-rabid animals can be revaccinated and then quarantined for just 30 days.

--City News Service

Natasha August 14, 2012 at 10:16 PM
What Klara has stated about vaccinations is indeed true and there is evidence to back it up. The fact is that PUPPIES need to be vaccinated but once they receive that set of 3 boosters they are pretty much immune for life. I only vaccinate my dog once every 3 years because she started getting sick immediately after receiving her "yearly booster". I only get it done at all now because I am in shelters all the time picking up lord knows what and dragging in into my home on a daily basis. However many people here are missing that the BIGGER issue is NOT whether or not to vaccinate your adult pets, but rather WHY THE F*&# DID LB ANIMAL CONTROL EUTHANIZE THE ANIMAL?!?!?!? That was absolutely, unarguably wrong any way you look at it. This was not a wild, rabid animal. It was a family pet. Quarantine, vaccination and observation for a period of time would be the logical method of action. Yet they chose to KILL the animal 24 hours after impounding it? And their excuse for that decision is that "California law says we can"? What a load of bullsh*t that is. This family needs to sue & make a huge stink over this incident. The only way LB EVER changes anything is when a big, fat, bright light gets shone on something that they are desperately trying to keep hidden. It's disgraceful.
Shawn Pearson August 15, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Unfortunately, to the betterment and proper education of pet owners, I have to post the same message twice..... Ms. Kissel, you are a disseminator of false information, par excellence. Why not get your veterinary facts straight before making an entry based merely on ignorance and misguided passion? Your propaganda is why many of us, in the scientific community, regard animal rights activism as a thorn in the side of good veterinary care and hygiene. Would you PLEASE STOP PROPAGATING erroneous information regarding the veterinary care of dogs, cats and other household pets?
Klara Kissell August 19, 2012 at 01:17 AM
It is disgraceful. So glad to meet another person here who has not been dumbed down by Bureaucratic bull$hit.
Klara Kissell August 19, 2012 at 01:20 AM
I have studied Holistic Health for dogs and cats since 1995. I have worked as an assistant to a Holistic Veterinarian for 16 years. I can give you the names of numerous books that back up what I wrote here. Many in the veterinary field know what I wrote is true. I'm sorry for you that you can't think out side the box of Western Medicine.
Belinda Willett September 28, 2012 at 01:09 AM
So sad, It like the cops here shoot first and ask question last! This didn't have to happen this way. And yes they should have waited to see if the dog had rabbies.

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