Local News

Rabid Horse Bites Alamance County Man

Posted August 22, 2003

— Melvin King, of Alamance County, loves to work with horses and kids, but a recent incident may cause him to think twice about it.

King worked horses all his life and did not hesitate to try to help a stray horse that wondered past his stables. He said the horse appeared sick when it went to the house of King's neighbor and got up on the front porch.

"The horse looked like it was extremely hot, sweating profoundly and probably had a real high temperature," he said.

King caught the animal and put it in one of his pens.

"Later, the horse started going around in circles, fall down, get up, go around in a circle, fall down, get up," he said.

King called a veterinarian and did what he could to help.

"I was trying to do was put Gatorade in the horse, and that's when the horse bit me," he said.

The animal died before the veterinarian could arrive, and King was told to begin treatments for rabies. Five other people who were at the farm are also receiving treatments, but officials say they should all be fine.

"You always hear about rabid raccoons or dogs, but you never hear of a wild horse running down the road," student Cara Ozbalt said.

All of King's horses have been given rabies booster shots.

Since 1996, state officials said they have found rabies in seven cows, four groundhogs, two beavers and nine horses. Since the huge rabies outbreak in North Carolina that began in 1990, officials said racoons account for more cases than all other animals combined.

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