Animal Control makes changes after rabid skunk attack

MATHEWS COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – An 81-year-old woman is upset at animal control for their response to a rabid skunk attack at her home.

Joice Davis pulled into her Buckley Hall Road driveway last Tuesday and noticed the cows were acting funny.

“I watched them for a minute, then I saw this thing running around, chasing the cows, one after the other,” Davis said.

She saw the skunk biting at the cows’ hooves. And being a country girl, it didn’t take Davis long to realize the skunk was rabid. She stayed in her van and called animal control for help. It was after normal business hours, so the officer wasn’t in, but a dispatcher promised to contact him.

In the meantime, Davis called her nephew, who showed up with his gun and waited for the right moment.

“The bull, who is the biggest one out there, he decided he’d get away from it all and took off toward the barn,” said Davis. “So he took off and here comes the little skunk pursuing him.”

Her nephew took the opportunity and shot the rabid animal dead.

“But there it lay, so I called the dispatcher back and told him we killed the animal,” Davis said.

But no one ever came.

WAVY.com asked animal control why an officer did not respond. Officer Jean Roberts said the animal was killed 12 minutes after Davis made the first call for help. Roberts said the on-call officer did not continue to the scene since the threat was over.

The dispatcher told Davis to put the skunk in a plastic bag and bring it to the health department.

“That’s when I said, ‘I’m 81-years-old. I’m not going in that pasture to pick up the dead animal,” Davis said. “And I don’t know I even could.”

The health department, which tests animals suspected of carrying rabies, didn’t come until the next day.

“It didn’t seem to bother anybody that the thing was there and it could have been a danger to anyone that got near it,” Davis said.

Animal control tells us the health department could have been there sooner, if dispatch had called the right ‘after hours’ phone number. In reviewing this case, animal control found the number was outdated. They have since corrected the problem.

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