Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Rabies scare prompts warning to pet owners

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A dog attack that led to a rabies scare is a reminder for Winnipeggers to vaccinate their pets.

The skunk attack on a Labrador mix happened in the city's south end recently, though animal services agency chief Leland Gordon didn't specify the part of the city where the attack happened or if it transpired this month. City workers responded after a Labrador was injured in an attack, and found the skunk.

The skunk was killed, and testing showed the animal had rabies.

"This is incredibly rare," said Gordon. It's the first time there's been a case of rabies in the city since 2006.

The dog is now in quarantine.

He said skunks and raccoons are "primary carriers" of rabies.

"People who live in every part of Winnipeg need to take this as a serious reminder to be responsible pet owners," Gordon said.

"Part of responsible pet ownership is vaccinating your pets and visiting a veterinarian regularly."

A city press release said there are 45 clinics where Winnipeggers can take their animals for vaccinations.

Gordon said Winnipeggers who live in the outskirts of the city, near big parks or rivers, should be "wildlife-proofing their homes."

He said food sources for dogs, cats, or birds should be removed from yards because food can lure wildlife.

People with big decks or storage sheds with crawl spaces should put beams of wood underneath them, he said.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 18, 2013 A4

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