NOGALES, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - Attention pet owners. Santa Cruz County has issued a rabies warning and quarantine.
Skunks are the reason. Since November Santa Cruz County has confirmed 24 rabid skunks. The County is reminding dog owners to abide by vaccination laws and ordering dog owners to keep dogs confined or on a leash at all times.
Normally you would not need to warn someone to keep away from a skunk or keep their pets away. But rabid skunks can be so aggressive they'll come after you.
Normally a skunk will run away , or use it's powerful scent to drive off a threat.
But rabies can make a skunk so aggressive it wants to attack.
Lieutenant Jose Pena says it happened to him---twice.
"Very aggressive towards me, wanting to bite and as soon as they saw me they came after me."
Normal skunks roam at night. But Mindy Maddock says one morning in January a skunk tangled with her dog Charlie.
"By the time I came out to the garage with my gun, to get the skunk, the skunk was at the back door. Trying to get in the back door."
She shot the skunk and rushed to the vet. Charlie already had rabies vaccinations so he was able to wait out a 45 day quarantine at home. He's fine.
Because of the rabies emergency, the responsibilities for pet owners have changed. In the City of Nogales for instance, if your dog was out of your fenced yard he could be under your voice command. But now during the emergency they must be on a leash where ever they may be in Santa Cruz County.
And any dog found on its own will go to the pound and be in danger of being disposed of under state law.
The Santa Cruz County order calls for rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats. Pima County has also issued a rabies alert after finding rabies in skunks as well.