Healthy people, families, and communities.



Health officials urge residents to vaccinate their animals

dog-gets-skunked-framed-smDalton (GA) A Whitfield County resident observed stray dogs interacting with a skunk on Boyles Mill Road in the northeast section of the county on Monday, December 12 and contacted officials the next day after seeing a media report about rabies in the area. The resident was not close enough to the stray dogs to give a specific description.


Whitfield Animal Control responded to the call and found a dead skunk in about the same location. Since the skunk almost certainly had contact with the stray dogs, it was shipped to the Georgia State Public Health Laboratory, which confirmed on Wednesday, December 14 that the skunk had rabies.

There was no human exposure to rabies reported in this incident.

Residents in the northern parts of Whitfield and Murray Counties are strongly advised to be aware of wild mammals behaving aggressively, appearing sick or otherwise behaving in an abnormal manner. Children should be taught to avoid stray dogs, cats and wild mammals.

Pet owners should make sure their cats and dogs are currently vaccinated against rabies. When rabid wild animals come near a home, pets usually have first contact with them. So when pets are vaccinated against rabies, pet owners and their families are also better protected. Unvaccinated dogs or cats that have been bitten by a rabid animal are recommended to be destroyed or placed in very strict quarantine for six months.


Persons who own livestock in these areas should have farm animals with which they have close contact vaccinated against rabies and be aware that all livestock are susceptible to rabies. A cow in another part of north Georgia was recently found to have rabies resulting in anti-rabies treatments for several persons.

For more information about rabies and its prevention, contact your local Environmental Health office (contact information is at or log onto

rabid skunk-web2North Georgia Recently in northern Murray and Whitfield Counties, there have been several incidents of wild skunks chasing humans and pets.


A skunk on River Road in Murray County and a skunk on Riverdale Road in north Whitfield County have been confirmed as rabid.


Another Murray County skunk from Mantooth Road in Crandall is being tested but is probably rabid, as well.


Skunks normally avoid people and are mostly nocturnal. When skunks, raccoons and similar wild animals are visible during daylight hours, they may have rabies.


Rabid animals may be aggressive like these skunks have been, or they may seem sick, disoriented and lethargic.


Wildfires to the east of Crandall may be forcing wild animals out of their normal habitats.


Please make certain pets are currently vaccinated against rabies and have them revaccinated if they are not. Rabies is a deadly virus that can be transmitted to humans through the saliva of infected animals.


All hoofed livestock are susceptible to rabies. Vaccinating whole herds of animals against rabies is not usually practical, but we recommend vaccination for livestock that have close human contact, such as show cows and all horses. Any livestock showing neurological symptoms should be evaluated by your veterinarian for rabies.


The Murray County Sheriff’s Department will be sponsoring an emergency Rabies Vaccination Clinic to be held Saturday, December 3rd from 10 am to 4 pm at the Murray County Animal Shelter, located at 571 Highway 52 East, Chatsworth. Dr. Emily Felker, DVM, will be administering the rabies vaccinations. The cost is $15 cash for a one-year vaccination.


For more information about rabies and its prevention, contact the local county Environmental Health office or log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at