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July 6, 2022

Skunk and bat test positive for rabies in Salinas and Chualar Canyon area

SALINAS — A skunk found on April 26 near the East Romie Lane area in Salinas has tested positive for rabies, announced the Monterey County Health Department and Animal Services on Friday.

This is the second instance of wildlife testing positive for the rabies virus in the last week. On April 22, a Mexican free-tailed bat was also confirmed to be positive for rabies in the Chualar Canyon area in unincorporated Monterey County.

“Animal Services has investigated both incidents and determined that, while there was exposure to owned pets, there was no human exposure in either case,” the county said in a news release.

Monterey County Health Department and Animal Services is reminding the public that there is a continuous presence of rabies in local wildlife, both in and out of city limits. In Monterey County, skunks and bats are the most common species to test positive for the virus.

Domestic animals, including dogs and cats, are at risk for rabies in the county. County ordinance (MCC 8.08.010) and Salinas City Code (SCC 7-5) requires all dogs and cats over the age of 4 months to be vaccinated against rabies.  

In addition to ensuring that pets are currently vaccinated, the following precautions are also advised:

  • Owners should avoid leaving their pets outside unattended, particularly at dawn and dusk when wildlife can be most active;
  • Owners of domestic livestock species, such as horses, sheep, goats, pigs and cattle, should discuss rabies vaccinations with their veterinarian as these species are also susceptible to rabies infections from rabid wild animals;
  • Residents should avoid leaving pet food and water outside because it encourages wildlife activity around the home; and
  • People should avoid contact with wildlife, particularly skunks and bats at all times. Do not touch or approach animals acting strangely. If any wild animals are found dead, acting abnormally or ill, or if a pet has been exposed to rabies, contact Monterey County Animal Services at 831-769-8850 or the local animal control agency.

More information about rabies is available by calling the Monterey County Health Department’s Communicable Disease Unit at 831-755-4521 or by visiting the Animal Services’ website hitchcockroadanimals.org.

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