Rabies Outbreak

By: Amy Morris
By: Amy Morris

Bay County health officials are warning people to stay away from all wild animals. They've confirmed three raccoons have tested positive for rabies. Now, a devastated Callaway family wishes someone would have warned them of the rabies danger before their family pets had contact with one of the infected raccoons.

"They were best buds so it's fitting they be buried together," says Don Peavy as he digs a gravesite in his backyard for his family’s two beloved cats.

The Peavy family said goodbye to their cats Friday afternoon. The family pets came in contact with the rabies virus after a rabid raccoon came into their backyard.

Don Peavy says it's been a hard week with all four family pets getting exposed to Rabies.

"We heard the dogs barking out here Tuesday night. My wife came out and saw something jump at our black lab.”

The family did everything right, their yard is fenced in and they called Animal Control immediately when they saw the raccoon. Unfortunately, rabies is spread by saliva and the family's dogs exposed the cats to the virus by drinking from the same water bowl.

Vickie Peavy says Wednesday was the hardest because they had to make the hardest decision of all.

"It's hard to quarantine cats so we chose to put them down, but after that I just couldn't loose our dogs too, we had to at least try."

According to the Bay County Health Department there have been three rabid raccoons picked up in the last month, two of those in the Callaway area. Now, the Peavy's want to know why they weren't warned.

Dr. Peter Sylvester with the Bay County Health Department says, "I made the call not to report every rabid animal because I don't think it's big news. Every raccoon should be treated as if it's rabid and if I was on TV every week or month telling people that it wouldn't have any impact."

Unfortunately it's too late for the Peavy's two cats, and their dogs are quarantined until mid-October. The Peavy’s also have to get vaccinated; they will each have five shots over the next month.


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