By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia
Two rabies cases have been reported in Franklin County over the past month, according to Franklin County Environmental Health Director Louis Korff.
The first happened May 8th on Nicholas Way, a populated neighborhood of Royston.
Korff said Royston Police officers were called to the home on a report of a sick fox lying in the corner of a homeowner’s yard.
“They did what I’ve asked them to do in those cases, which is dispatch the aniaml and then dispose of the carcass,” Korff said. “The road department came and disposed of the carcass, which is what the protocol would be.”
Royston Police Chief Donnie Boleman said the fox tried to run, but was not able to stand up and hold its balance.
He said the fox showed several obvious signs of rabies.
Boleman and Korff said as far as anyone knows, no one came in contact with the rabid fox before it was put down.
Then this past Saturday, Korff said another call of a rabid animal came from Franklin Springs.
“In the heart of the residential district was a raccoon, staggering around in their front yard,” Korff said. “Once again, it was showing signs of rabies and it was in a densely populated area. Instead of calling 911, they called me. I was out of town and by the time I got back to them, it had staggered off into the woods.”
The raccoon has not been found, but Korff doesn’t believe anyone came in contact with the animal.
Korff reminds people, especially children, if you see a sick wild animal in the day time, don’t go near it.
“I cannot emphasize that enough,” he said. “By all means, avoid the animal. Walk away from it, not towards it. Children will often times want to try and help a sick or injured animal when they see one. So parents should be vigilant and make sure children stay away from any sick wild animal.”
Korff said in addition to the fox and the skunk, he’s had 13 confirmed cases of rabies in wildlife this year.