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  • Wildlife making appearances around Pima County

    Mar 11, 2021 | Read More News
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    CoatimundiAfter a recent encounter between a coatimundi and two dogs, Pima Animal Care Center is encouraging pet owners to vaccinate their pets. Rabies and distemper are prevalent in wildlife and transmitted when there is direct contact. Rabies vaccines are required by law.

     A pair of dogs here in Pima County recently got into a scuffle with a coatimundi. Animal protection officers transferred the coatimundi to the Tucson Wildlife Center, where it will go into quarantine, after our clinic team spoke with the state veterinarian. As for the dogs, one was current on his vaccinations, but the other had not been vaccinated, so that pup must stay at the shelter for rabies observation, which is required by the state.  

    “It’s never fun to have to tell a pet owner about the required quarantine,” said Monica Dangler, Interim Director of Animal Services. “Then, we have to tell them about the costs of taking care of their pet while on that quarantine. We don’t like this part of the job.”

    The amount of time spent during rabies observation varies depending on the pet’s vaccination history. If a pet has ever had a rabies vaccination, then they can do a home quarantine for 45 days. If they have never received a rabies vaccination, then it jumps to 120 days and they must head to the shelter for rabies observation.

    “What’s interesting is that we just cleared out a pet who had been attacked by a bobcat,” said Christina Snow, the Animal Protection Services manager. “That pup was here for 120 days, and now we have this dog who will be here just as long.”

    The cost of boarding, feeding, and treating a pet while on rabies observation starts at $80 if they do not require any medical care. However, since many of the pets we see are often involved in a tussle with bobcats, coyotes, foxes and more, they often do require medical care. That can make the cost much higher than the $80 baseline pricing.

    “Here’s the thing,” Snow said. “All of this stress and difficulty can be avoided by keeping your pet up-to-date on their vaccinations. No dog should have to live in a kennel for four months. Please vaccinate your animals.”

    There are several low-cost options on the No Kill Pima County website here. When people think of rabies vaccines, they tend to only think about dogs, but cats are also encouraged to get vaccinated as well. 

    “There have been instances where a bat got into the home and a cat was seen playing with it, so they had to head to the shelter for their rabies observation, and because the cat had not ever been vaccinated, it had to stay here for 120 days,” Dangler said. “Keep them safe and keep them vaccinated as well.”

    What can you do if your pet encounters wildlife?
    • If your domestic animal comes in contact with wildlife, you should take your animal to the vet and get a rabies booster. Then call Animal Protection at (520) 724-5900 and press option 4.
    • In the case of wildlife emergencies (sick or injured with NO contact to humans or domestic animals), call the Tucson Wildlife Center or Arizona Game & Fish.

    As a reminder, the shelter is operating on an appointment-based system. People can make their appointment at pima.gov/animalcare. Emergencies do not require an appointment. PACC’s hours are Monday-Friday, noon to 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

    PACC is offering an adoption promotion for the month of March. You can check out the details here. Potential adopters can make an appointment to adopt a specific pet or to browse the kennels or the store at pima.gov/animalcare. This promotion will not include kittens or puppies. They will still be $50 each. There is also a $20 licensing fee per adopted dog that cannot be waived. All pets are up-to-date on vaccinations and will be spayed or neutered before being adopted.