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Kitten adopted from Wake County shelter had rabies

Posted September 13, 2011

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— Wake County health officials said Tuesday that a cat adopted from the county animal shelter on Beacon Lake Drive in Raleigh has tested positive for rabies.

The gray tabby kitten, named Silverbell, was in Cat Room A at the Wake County Animal Center between 2 and 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 30 before being adopted. Anyone who may have touched the animal during that time is asked to call the county's communicable disease hotline at 919-250-4462.

Rabies is most commonly transmitted from animals to humans through a bite, but people can in some cases get the disease from contact with an infected animal's saliva.

Health Director Sue Lynn Ledford said there is no reason to believe that any other animals at the shelter were exposed to the disease. She added that Silverbell was only at the shelter a short time and she's unsure how many people had physical contact with the cat.

"We don't know how many people exactly would have passed through. We do not believe many people at all," she said. "There could have been no one."

The kitten was brought to the shelter as a stray and was adopted a couple hours later. Once Silverbell was taken to its adoptive home, it began acting aggressively, Ledford said. The animal died a short time later and subsequently tested positive for rabies.

Everyone in the household where the kitten lived is being treated for the disease, Ledford said. The people who work at the shelter take pre-vaccines regularly and are given booster shots when rabies exposure is possible, she said.


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  • gottabkidnme Sep 16, 2011

    Perhaps I am mistaken but I thought that the animals when first received were quarintined until all tests and/or treatments were administered and cleared. Why would they adopt a cat that was considered Stray when they don't know what disease they could be carrying? Who knows how many people could have been exposed!!!

  • barbstillkickin Sep 15, 2011

    I am so sure the cat was not contaminated at the shelter. I have been blessed with three of my dogs being rescued for the shelter. I was turned away from spca because my one dog was obese but the guy after us adopted a pit bull to fight and in the parking lot he told us we should just say we never had a dog and we can have anything. So at spca you lie to get dog at Humane shelter they watch the reaction the dog has toward you. They all want money but so do private people as well. We should all just try to find a good home for these rescued dogs and cats. I am totally behind the Humane Shelter they are the best.

  • storchheim Sep 14, 2011

    poorboy, I honestly had mixed feelings about the young woman at the SPCA adoption center in Garner, who worked with me a few months ago. I made my concerns known via email. I ended up taking the cat anyway, but I was concerned that a specific thing she did would hurt the SPCA in general and hurt the chances of a sick animal being adopted. ("Sick" in this case meant he had a URI and needed some minor meds for about a week, no big deal.) It wasn't just that I felt put out, I really have a concern for the animals too, and found the SPCA to be wonderful when they were down 70 next to Agri Supply.

    Your experience is disheartening. I sure hope they gave some thought to my feedback, and the same mistake didn't happen with you. For the most part, I found them to be bending over backwards to help me adopt the kitten, and truly concerned with the animals' welfare.

  • synrgy501 Sep 14, 2011

    Rabies has a 6 month incubation period and it would be impossible to hold animals for that period of time at any facility. Vaccinating an animal that has already been exposed will not help the animal. The shelter has done everything right in this situation by alerting the public and taking measures to protect anyone who may have been exposed.

  • magee43 Sep 14, 2011

    I am a volunteer at the Wake County Animal Shelter. The SPCA is a different organizations. The SPCA does not take in animals any longer. All animals are sent to WC Animal Shelter and the SPCA comes to our shelter to pull animals to put them up for adoptions on in Garner on Pet Finder Lane. We hold all strays for 72 hrs per the law. If you want to have them held longer you need to contact law makers to change it. Wake County is the largest & best shelter in NC. They depend on hundreds of volunteers that help with every department and situation because the county doesn't have enough funds since a lot of the funds have been eliminated due to cuts. If you want to help PLEASE donate funds,food,supplies,towels and cleaning items. If you don't want to come to the shelter, go to our website and look for the companies that have a donation bin at their location that are near you. Please help save ONE ANIMAL AT A TIME.

  • poorboy Sep 14, 2011

    IKEYBOY you couldnt be any more wrong and I wont go into details here but the girl who waited on us was inconpentent at the SPCA

  • ikeyboy Sep 14, 2011

    poorboy: You do not like the SPCA because they have an adoption process instead of just letting someone writing a check, show a driver's license, and letting the animal go out to anyone who walks through the door. When you have loose adoption rules, you are putting the animal at risk.

  • Scubagirl Sep 14, 2011

    guess I should have read ALL the posts before posting. I see that you still cannot test for rabies on a live animal. Shame there's not another test. Hopefully that is being worked on

  • Scubagirl Sep 14, 2011

    poor kitten, and poor family who did the right thing by adopting and now this.
    Is there not some way of testing for rabies prior to adoption? Seems in the past the answer was no, that the animal had to be killed, or die, to test it.

  • stwatson Sep 14, 2011

    poor kitten...

    Hope no others were infected and that people continue to adopt.