Local News

Homeowners often responsible for trapping rabid animals

Posted July 13, 2009

— As development encroaches on animal habitats around the Triangle, more homeowners find it's up to them to remove unwanted animals from their property, including some that might have rabies.

Durham County Animal Control Director Cindy Bailey said limited resources prevent her officers from going after every animal in someone's yard, unless the animal poses a threat.

Durham County Animal Control officer's badge Officials don't always pick up unwanted animals

"Is it trying to attack you? Is it attacking your lawn mower? Is it attacking your water hose?" Bailey said. "Every county has its limitations. We can't do everything."

Cheryl Fuller recently found out firsthand what those limitations mean for residents. She had just moved to a home near the Streets at Southpoint mall when she spotted a fox in her yard that looked sick. A half-hour later, the animal was dead.

Animal control officers eventually removed the animal's carcass and sent it for testing. Tests came back positive for rabies.

Durham County has had five confirmed cases of rabid foxes so far this year. One attacked a girl outside a church preschool.

Fuller told officers she also had seen some kits nearby, but they told her to contact a private company to trap the young animals since they didn't know if the kits belonged to the dead fox.

"We do not have the licenses that you need from the state nor the resources nor knowledge or abilities that these other companies have," Bailey said.

Animal control officials in Wake County said they also lack a state license to trap wild animals. Orange County Animal Control does  have such a license, officials said, and the department will trap animals on a case-by-case basis.

Fuller said estimates from the trapping companies vary from $400 to $700. Her neighbor, Mark Saulter, said he would be willing to chip in to remove the kits if other neighbors also shared the costs.

"Obviously, they could be rabid as well," Saulter said. "There is a risk, and it would be nice if it could be dealt with."


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  • LoveMyLab Jul 15, 2009

    I think that what gets me is that county/city/town animal control ISN'T licensed by the state to trap wild animals???? What the....???? Shouldn't that be something done AUTOMATICALLY for ALL taxpayer funded animal control agencies?

  • Professor Jul 14, 2009

    Well Ok, we will shoot the rabid animals as soon as we see one. lol

  • Shadow213 Jul 14, 2009

    I've lived in the area for 20 years and I feel like seeing foxes has become much more common than it used to be. Certainly a product of all the developing that has and is going on. I run very early in the morning because of my work schedule and have come across foxes on several occaisons. Luckily, I dont think any of them were rabid since they did run away. However, I would not have been armed if I had been pursued. It'd be a good idea to take some pepper spray with me just in case. (Those canadian geese can get pretty vicious too!)

  • Space Mountain Jul 14, 2009

    So, if Wake County can't trap wild animals, how do they get stray cats?

  • The Fox Jul 14, 2009

    The ultimate "it's not my job."

  • miketroll3572 Jul 14, 2009

    High power bb or pellet gun works like a charm if used correctly.

  • RedKing Jul 14, 2009

    Ran into this a couple of years back when a couple of raccoons moved into our attic. Cary has no dedicated Animal Control personnel, so we had to hire a private company to trap and remove them. I considered climbing up into the attic and trying to roust them out myself, but after seeing the size of the one that was trapped, it's probably a good thing I didn't.

  • Wilson_Native Jul 14, 2009

    We had a fox trying to attack our two large dogs through our fence a while back... after calling the police and animal control, I was told to chase the fox off with a water hose (but told I could not shoot it b/c I was in the city limits). I finally called 911 and told them there was a rabid fox in my yard and children were playing near it (which was not a lie) and I had someone to my house to capture it within 30 mins. I know this may not be the perfect use of 911... but being told by the police to run off an animal acting this way, let alone in a subdivision where there are lots of children, was not an option for me.

  • jmarkhams24 Jul 14, 2009

    Durham Animal Control is full of excuses. Chasing a rabid fox one week and not the next. It all depends on what they want to do for the day, or not! Typical of that department. Slackers on staff with no one to lead them.

  • ribbons55 Jul 14, 2009

    It is us who are infringing on these animals homes and territories, not the other way around. Wake County Animal Control is a pitiful excuse for such an agency. Why am I not surprised they can't or won't acquire a license to trap animals when necessary?