PLATTSBURGH — A rabid skunk confirmed in the Village of Keeseville has upped the stakes for Clinton County health officials.
The Health Department is increasing its rabies education and prevention due to the increased threat to the public that this represents.
The skunk, which tested positive for rabies on Oct. 2, entered a pen and attacked three dogs. The dogs fought back and killed the skunk, according to a Health Department release. The owners called police, who advised them to have the skunk tested for rabies.
Two of the dogs attacked by the skunk had a current rabies vaccination and received a booster. A third dog was unvaccinated and was euthanized after the skunk was confirmed rabid.
This is the second rabid animal in the southern part of Clinton County. A raccoon in the Town of Black Brook tested positive in September.
Health Department spokeswoman Laurie Williams told the Press-Republican that rabies is always in the bat population, but the rabid skunk and raccoon signify that terrestrial rabies is in the area, something that hasn’t been seen since 1996.
She said people in this area have a good record of vaccinating their pets, with about 60 to 70 percent of pets being immunized. Rabies-vaccine bait drops and programs that catch, vaccinate and release wild animals also help, she said.
“Everyone is doing a great job, but this shows we need to be more vigilant,” Williams said.
The Health Department is holding its annual round of fall rabies clinics. Because of the rabid skunk, an additional clinic will be held at the Keeseville Fire Station from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10.
A clinic was held Thursday night in Beekmantown. Other clinics will be held 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Morrisonville Fire Station; Thursday, Oct. 11, Ellenburg Fire Station; Tuesday, Oct. 16, Peru Fire Station; Thursday, Oct. 18, Chazy Fire Station; and Tuesday, Oct. 23, Keeseville Fire Station.