Rye Family Loses Pets To Rabid Fox

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A family in Rye lost two animals last week when the fox that attacked them was determined to be rabid.

The pets, a dog and a small pig, had to be put to death, officials said.

The attack took place Thursday at the home of Rex and Paula House in Rye.

"The fox was biting about a 10-pound pig, bit it in the nose," Animal Control Officer Ty Goodman said. "The dog came out and was trying to protect the pig, and it got bit, too."

House killed the fox, then notified Goodman. The pets a Queensland mix and the piglet were taken to the Payson Animal Shelter for quarantine until a rabies test could be performed. Neither of the pets had been vaccinated against the rabies virus.

"I took the head of the fox down to the state lab in Phoenix for testing, and by 8:30 a.m. the next morning, had the results it was rabid," he said.

Goodman had to retrieve the animals from the shelter and put them to sleep.

It was the first report of rabies this year, Goodman said, but it won't be the ast. With the extreme drought conditions plaguing the state, animals are getting sick out in the forest, and wandering into town looking for food and water.

"It's just a sad situation," he said. "I don't care if you have horses, llamas, sheep or goats if you have animals, you need to get them vaccinated."

What do do

According to the Gila County Animal Control Department, Arizona state law requires any dog four months of age or older be licensed in its county of residence after a rabies vaccination has been administered to the dog by a licensed veterinarian.

The rabies vaccination tag given to you by the vet is not a county license; valid county licenses can be obtained only through the Gila County Health Department.

For more information about rabies and licenses, call Gila County Rabies Control at 474-1210.

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