Unvaccinated Fannin County dogs kill rabid raccoon

A syringe filled with a dose of rabies vaccination, foreground, sits on the counter at the Red Bank Animal Hospital.

A Morganton, Ga., resident told authorities three of his dogs fought and killed a raccoon Sunday that since has tested positive for rabies, a news release from Fannin County health authorities states.

Shannon Bradburn, local environmental health specialist, said the resident of the home near Loving Road in the Hemptown Creek area called his office Mondayto report the incident.

Bradburn investigated the incident and found that, while there had been no human contact with the raccoon, the dogs had not been vaccinated against rabies.

The Georgia Public Health Laboratory confirmed Tuesday that the raccoon had tested positive for rabies. Since the dogs were not vaccinated, the owner must decide whether to place them in a double-fenced enclosure for six months quarantine or have them euthanized, officials said.

"The best way to protect against rabies is to maintain rabies vaccinations in your pets," Bradburn said. "Also, never approach any animal if you do not know if it is currently vaccinated."