WABASSO, Fla. - Indian River County's Health Department has extended its rabies alert to the entire county after the fifth rabid animal attack in the past month.
The most recent attack occurred on Memorial Day in the Hobart Landing neighborhood of Wabasso.
George Young Jr. was enjoying the holiday at home with family when he heard his dogs howling.
"I opened the porch to get a look at what was going on and the boy said you better get over there your dog’s getting killed," said Young.
In the middle of the afternoon, he says a raccoon climbed over his chain link fence and attacked Pepper, his German short-haired pointer.
"And I knew it was going to kill her. The coon had her by the throat and had the claws in her."
George jumped in to try and help. He grabbed a tarp from his barbecue grill.
"I threw that tarp over the dog and the coon and then I grabbed the coon by the back of the neck and the back and hold him down."
His wife, Debby, managed to pry Pepper free, but George continued to struggle with the raccoon. They called for a sheriff’s deputy.
"And I said shoot this damned coon I can’t let go of it… He put the 9 mm right next to my hand and I turned my face and he shot the coon right next to my hand."
Pepper suffered claw wounds. George was bitten in the hand and
Debby got some of the raccoon’s blood and saliva on her.
All of them are now getting vaccinations, as the raccoon tested positive for rabies.
"Rabies if you come down with it is a fatal disease, that’s why you get post-exposure treatment when we know we’re dealing with a rabid animal," said Cheryl Dunn of the Indian River County Health Department.
"Friday night we got 7 shots. I got one in the wrist where it bit me and one in the elbow and one in the shoulder and 4 back here in the hips," said Young.
Health officials urge families to get their pets vaccinated, and keep pets' food inside, so it won’t attract wild animals.
They say if you see a raccoon during daylight hours there’s a good chance it may be sick, so they urge you to call animal control.
©2007 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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