Local News

Garner pet owner: Dog with rabies hadn't been vaccinated

Posted August 19, 2012

— A Garner man whose dog had to be euthanized earlier this week says he wishes he had kept his pet up to date on vaccinations.

Bernard Owens said he hopes his loss of an Akita named Sue will encourage other families to protect their pets.

"My wife bought her for me for my birthday four years ago," Owens said. "I am going to miss her, but it is a lesson learned. I promise you that the next dog is going to be vaccinated."

The family has a fenced in yard, but sometimes Sue would get out and go into a wooded area behind the house, Owens said.

"I guess she ran into the woods – maybe she jumped into a raccoon or a fox or something," he said.

Last week, Sue started acting strangely.

"She couldn't hold her balance and she was real dirty," he said. "When I went to wash her, she got fearful of the water."

That's when he knew something was wrong. 

"I was shocked, but I knew I hadn't had her vaccinated," he said.

Sue was euthanized Monday and taken to the State Laboratory of Public Health in Raleigh for testing. Test results confirming rabies were returned Tuesday.

Wake County officials posted signs around the Hillington West subdivision, where the Owens family lives, to warn neighbors about the rabies case.

Pam Roy, who lives next door to the Owenses, said she is taking extra precautions when her four dogs are out in the yard.

"We have bobcats, black bears, coyote and fox," Roy said. "I am supervising (my dogs) in their fenced in back yard." Sue the Akita Garner pet owner: Dog with rabies hadn't been vaccinated

To protect animals in the neighborhood, the county is hosting a rabies clinic from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at Quest Fellowship Church. Rabies vaccines will be $5. 

County officials also said that any person or animal who had significant contact with Sue should call their physician or veterinarian right away. 

Owens said he hopes other pet owners will take advantage of the clinic and get their animals vaccinated.

"I may not seem like a big thing, but in the end, it's going to save you and your animal a lot of pain and suffering," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • piene2 Aug 20, 2012

    "Oh. So like I get my pets, and then lose my job a short time later.

    So like that is no excuse. There is, available something called a "CareCredit" card. Many veterinarians and even some doctors honor it. There is no credit check required in order to acquire it. So like those in need can get the help they require.

  • fishon Aug 20, 2012

    So nothing in the story about the dog's owner having to have preventive rabies shots himself? If he was handling or washing the sick dog is it possible he is infected?

  • fishon Aug 20, 2012

    I made no unsubstantiated claims. I was commenting on Road-wearier's comment regarding the tea party.

  • Pepe Silvia Aug 20, 2012

    LoveMyLab - This is not about people having temporary hardships (ie- loss of a job) but people who get dogs or cats and then are completely irresponsible. In FOUR years this guy couldn't be bothered get a rabies shot or basic vaccines, that is inexcusable.

    If you have a pet and you lose your job that is not an excuse for your pet not being neutered/spayed and vaccinated because if you couldn't handle those basic needs when you HAD a job. Shelters like the Wake SPCA will even help with pet food in cases where someone is in enough of a hardship.

  • mpheels Aug 20, 2012

    stephkenner - yes, cats can get rabies, and should be vaccinated. Most towns have ordinances barring cats from roaming freely, just like leash laws for dogs. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the rules for cats, and they are hard to enforce.

  • Jenb64 Aug 20, 2012

    Please check out these two links for 1. low cost spay and neutering services and 2. Wake County Animal Control events including rabies and microchip clinics.

    1. http://www.wakegov.com/pets/fix/services.htm

    2. http://www.wakegov.com/pets/events/default.htm

    My vet charged me $150.00 for all shots (minus rabies, which my dog wasn't due for this year, but is normally around $16.00), a heartworm and fecal test (for other types of worms). They do not charge an office visit for vaccines. Just call around to find a vet that charges in this manner. I pay $28.00 every three months for flea and tick repellent at WalMart (similar to Frontline) and $7.00 a month heartworm preventative. Barring any un-forseen medical expenses, I don't consider that a big financial investment for the amount of love and joy that my beloved dog brings to my life.

  • mikegant Aug 20, 2012

    Irresponsible, the children in the home as well as adults now must get rabies shots.having an unvaccinated animal around smacks of child endangerment as well of reckless disregard of neighbors.

  • stephkenner Aug 20, 2012

    This happened in my neighborhood, on the next block over. Garner animal control posted signs on the stop signs going in & out of the neighborhood. I wasn't aware that there had been a rabies issue until I saw the sign Saturday & I stopped to read it. My dog has slipped out the door before when it wasn't shut all the way. It happens. What about cats? Can they get rabies? They're loose in the neighborhood all the time. Do you think the leash laws should also apply to them?

  • downtownmsbrown Aug 20, 2012

    I really dont mean to be ugly, but I love my dogs as much as my children, and if you cant, dont, or forget to have your animals vaccinated because of your stupidity, you dont deserve them...there is no excuse, so please dont try and sell us that oh I forgot stuff, you know when your childrens vaccines are due, car tags due, taxes due...how you can sleep because you "forgot" is beyond me! please do us all a favor and DONT get another animal...

  • Scubagirl Aug 20, 2012

    smh at some of the comments here. hope some of you never own an animal