Friday, January 15, 2016

Orange County Animal Services didn't quarantine dog found next to dead raccoon

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 12:21 PM

Speck, an injured dog found by Orange County Animal Services officials in a Dumpster next to a dead raccoon, was euthanized Wednesday after OCAS failed to quarantine her when they found her earlier this month. 

The Orlando Sentinel reports that finding Speck near a dead raccoon is a "red flag for rabies," a deadly virus passed through saliva that's fatal for humans if left untreated. Speck was found on Jan. 5 but wasn't quarantined because officials didn't communicate that she was found in the Dumpster with the raccoon, says Dil Luther, manager of Orange County Animal Services. Under Florida Administrative Code, Speck should have been quarantined for six months, and no one outside of staff should have handled her. 

But several volunteers came in contact with Speck, potentially exposing them to a deadly virus. Melissa Rowzie, a shelter volunteer, told the Sentinel Speck caught her eye while the dog was still alive in a kennel at OCAS, so Rowzie gave her a belly rub. 

"I'm trying desperately to save this sweet, sweet girl," Rowzie posted on her Facebook. "She is very sweet and docile. LOVES belly rubs and treats!"

Luther told the Sentinel no volunteers or staff were harmed by the dog. After Speck was euthanized, OCAS sent her remains to be tested for rabies. Orange County spokesperson Carrie Proudfit says a person would only be a candidate for the rabies vaccine if he or she were bitten. 

"After an owner did not come forward for a period of five days and efforts to secure a placement that could meet the requirements of the mandated quarantine were unsuccessful, animal services made the difficult decision to euthanize the canine," Proudfit says in an email. "Traditionally, any animal that is believed to be at risk for contracting rabies would not be a candidate for a foster or adoptive placement...Euthanasia is always a difficult decision, but one made with the best intention of public and animal safety at the time." 

Proudfit says the results of the tests on Speck's remains have not come back as of Friday afternoon. UPDATE: Speck's remains tested negative for rabies. 

Click the PDF link below to read emails regarding Speck and her rabies exposure. 

Click below to read the intake report on Speck and the summary notes on her stay at the shelter:

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