News Release

February 9, 2001


Rabid Skunks Found in West Houston

Three rabid skunks have been found near Westheimer and Highway 6 in the past few weeks prompting local health officials to remind residents to ensure that their pets have current rabies immunizations.

Animal control officers with the Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) picked up the skunks after reports of suspicious daytime behavior. Subsequent testing revealed rabies. These are the first cases of rabies in skunks in Houston since 1993.

State law and local ordinance require all dogs and cats to be immunized annually for rabies. In Houston, dogs and cats are also required to be licensed with the HDHHS Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC). Rabies immunization of companion dogs and cats create a barrier of immunity to humans from the disease.

HDHHS animal control officers have conducted a door to door education campaign in the affected area and conducted a sweep operation to remove stray dogs and cats.

Anyone observing strange daytime behavior in skunks, raccoons or bats should call BARC at 713-238-9600. An animal control officer will respond and attempt to remove the animal. Parents should remind children to avoid wild animals and to never touch a wild animal even though it may seem tame. Sick animals, such as with rabies, may appear docile or they may be aggressive.

Skunks are nocturnal animals and not normally seen during the day. Skunks are less active during the cooler winter months and more active when the weather warms up.

- end -