Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cat bite frustration

Welcome to rural America, where Animal Control only deals with dogs, and where the bite victim pays to have a cat euthanized and tested for rabies. Yes, that's right, we have to pay the county $185 to euthanize the cat that we caught and drove to Animal Control. The woman said she was not even allowed to remove the cat from our crate, and that we had to pay $155 cash to have the cat euthanized, the head removed, the remains cremated, the head overnighted to the state lab, and the tissue samples run. This morning, we get a call from them saying that we have to come in and pay $185, including the $30 for overnight kennel fee -- even though the cat stayed in our crate.

So, I asked, wondering what our tax dollars pay for, "In the future, when stray cats show up, can we just call you, and you'll come pick up the cats for free?"

"No, we don't do cats or wild animals. We only deal with dogs. There are no cat leash laws or rabies requirements in the county. Cats don't have to be vaccinated. They can run around anywhere. We don't do anything about it."

"So," I said, pointing to the crate with the sick cat, "if a cat shows up looking like this in the future, can we just shoot it?"

"Well, I wouldn't say that," she responded, "but I imagine a lot of farmers do that."

She also shared a little tidbit with us -- they found a rabid bat near us last year. I didn't think about it at the moment, but I'm wondering how they learned that, since they don't "do" wildlife. Now, it makes me wonder how big the rabies problem is in the county, since they don't "do" wildlife. How did they even learn that one bat had rabies? And yes, we have bats here on the farm. We see them at sunset flying around the house and barn.

On the brighter side, Katherine is doing well. She slept a lot yesterday and is worried about her math exam tonight, since she's right handed, and that's the arm that's injured. (She's taking a summer class.)

I forgot to share a funny story with you yesterday, so here you go. In the ER Sunday night, when the doctor said that she'd only heard of one person surviving rabies, and that was after spending months in a coma, Katherine said incredulously, "I'm in college. I don't have time to be in a coma." I thought, yeah, that's true, a coma would put her behind by a semester or two. It was not until I'd had a good night's sleep that the humor of her comment really sunk in.


Spinners End said...


Try calling your County Health Department- they should be able to tell you something about the prevalence of rabies in your county and what species have been found to have it. Perhaps the Illinois Department of Natural Resources might have some information as well.

Diane@Peaceful Acres said...

I'm sorry to read about your troubles. I'm quick to remember what Joel Salatin says, "shot, shovel, and shut up"! I pray Katherine has a quick recovery and does well on her exams! What a trooper.

SkippyMom said...

This is what my grandparents had to do on their farm - and no one cared when it was cats or other animals - just don't shoot a dog.

Hope Katherine's arm is feeling better soon. Sorry for all the trouble and cost that someone else's negligence caused you. Sad, really.

Take care.

rachel whetzel said...

Just a guess, but I'm betting it was the county fish and wildlife that "did" the bat. They probably just passed on the information to the animal control. Pretty sure that's how it would work here. I've run into the same issues with animal control here with cats. Still have to pay to leave them with animal control. In city limits, it's illegal to discharge a firearm, but country is easier. Of course they won't condone shooting cats, but that's what a lot of folks have to do. Especially around here. Lots of people dump cats here. It's more humane to shoot them (and be sure they are dead) than to let them starve, fight, and become ill or injured. For our local shelter, there are no tax dollars. They were taken out of the county budget years ago, so they have to charge for every little thing to survive.
Tell K to do well, and I hope she escapes this without any coma!

Tammy said...

Our county has no animal control either. There are a few very underfunded, overworked and overhoused rescues that simply can't take any more 'inmates'. If you have a problem cat/dog-- whatever you deal with it. Of course if it's a vicious dog or something you can call the sheriff, but their response would be slow and unless it has attacked a person, they would just advise you to 'take care of it'. Around here my Mom and I work to keep things under control but it is difficult (and costly) at times. We don't shoot shovel or shut up, but do try and get the strays fixed if possible, because a feral colony can develop quickly and overnight become a horrible problem of disaease and starvation. Cats are the most prevalent in dumped animals here, but occasionally we get a dog as well. Seems like it's easier to find homes for the dogs. Nothing is going to change though, until people spay/nueter their pets, or, oh horrors, be responsible for their offspring. As for rabies, I would do as someone suggested and contact your Conservation department as they could probably give stats on area cases. I also typed in google--rabies cases in (state) and it brought up Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and gave the month by month rabies cases and the animal that had it. Interesting... Tammy

LindaG said...

I am amazed they only deal with dogs.
And I don't understand you having to pay all that. :/
But I am so very glad to hear that Katherine is feeling better! Good luck to her on her math exam. ♥

pedalpower said...

Good grief..."they don't do wildlife." Seems it would make them much more ineffective as "animal control" since most times rabies is found in wildlife. I guess they are really just "dog control."

Our friends and relatives who live in the country do shoot sick looking stray cats...too dangerous to take chances with rabies in a hunter like cats. Even if you get rid of them this way, you have to be careful handling them.

Kara said...

The prevalence in each county/state varies from year to year. In a high incident year they take it more seriously than in a low one. We had bats in the house on two occasions. the first we let out (not knowing better) and we ALL (5) had to get rabies shots paid for by the county because we were asleep in the house when we woke to find the bat. It was aweful! They say with bats you don't always know you got bit since their bites are so small and with youngins you can't be sure they weren't exposed. Come to find out a neighbor had gotten bit by a rabid fox so the county was taking no chances with us because of where we lived. The next time we caught the bat and took it in...now that was a scene for America FHV...they really didn't want to send to test it because it was a low incident year. I was not backing down and they gave in, as some of you know I get a little mother lioness when push comes to shove. It tested negative so no booster need for us. Tell your daughter to hang in there. The first 24 hours after the shot(s) you feel like you have the flu but it passes quickly.

Kara said...

Oh it was not Animal Control...it was County Health that tested our bat.

Nancy K. said...

Kathrine will make a great Mom one day.


Angela Rountree said...

Deborah, I hope Katherine is feeling better. My husband was exposed to an ill bat last year, and felt like he had the flu after each rabies vaccination.

J. M. Strother said...

I hope she does well on her math test.

We get a couple of rabid bats reported in Webster Groves every summer. I can see bats flying around on any given summer evening. It's a little disconcerting, but there is not much one can do about it.

I hope that state lab test comes back negative.


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