Family decides to put down pups after they tangle with rabid skunk

Posted By elaine on April 6, 2011

four month old "Olina" was put down after being exposed to a rabid skunk in eastern El Paso County.

Four month old "Olina" was put down after being exposed to a rabid skunk in eastern El Paso County. She was not yet vaccinated against the deadly disease.

Yesterday we told you about a situation in which two dogs in Eastern El Paso County tangled with a rabid skunk over the weekend leaving their owner facing some serious decisions; spend thousands in boarding fees to keep her dogs in quarantine or humane euthanasia.


"Gizmo" was bitten by the rabid skunk multiple times. He was a puppy and hadn't gotten his rabies vaccination yet; his owner made the tough decision to put him to sleep.

Today the owner, Deanna Weatherford decided she had no choice but to choose the latter. Her family could not afford to spend the more than 15-hundred per dog to keep them at the veterinary clinic, but the decision was hard for the family.

“My daughter just got the little guy for a Christmas present. I saved up for a long time to get him,” Weatherford tearfully said while pointing to a little Rat Terrier puppy. “And my sons dog died just after Christmas so I got him that one,” she added pointing to a little red mixed puppy staring back at her from a dog crate.

Weatherford was planning to get rabies vaccinations for both puppies but she thought they couldn’t get them until they were six months old; they are four and five months old.”I was told they had to be six months old. I found out the soonest they could do it is at four months. I didn’t know that so it’s a little late because he (she said pointing to the terrier) could’ve been vaccinated.”

  The little dogs weren’t looking for trouble, in fact they were minding their own business lounging in their pen.

“The skunk found us. I had them locked in the pen the skunk crawled in their pen to get in and get them.”Skunk1

The skunk was looking for water; a common symptom for animals with rabies. Once in the pen the dogs went after the skunk and the terrier was bitten multiple times. The mix pup may have only been sprayed, but they couldn’t take a chance that the puppy had a wound that could not be seen. The skunk was killed and tested confirming the worst; the skunk had rabies.

“Any mammal can contract rabies,” said Weatherford’s Veterinarian, Dr. Genevieve Grammer. “That includes people so we need to have a conscious effort to make sure everybody is safe from the disease.”

The El Paso County Public Health said they expect the rabies problem to get worse this summer. They recommend that people vaccinate all their pets including cats, horses, and livestock.

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