FLUVANNA COUNTY, V.A. (WVIR) - More details are coming to light about a dog that tested positive for rabies in Fluvanna County. The Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office says the dog also attacked a juvenile before being euthanized last week.
The sheriff's office says they are working with the Department of Health to minimize the risk of rabies exposure to the public. However, animal advocates in the area say it’s hard to tell just how many people and their pets could have been exposed.
It’s been a long week for Rose Lemaster, who is being treated for rabies exposure. “I spent Christmas Eve getting the first series of vaccinations which was five vaccinations, two in one arm one in the other arm one in each thigh muscle. I spent Christmas Day in bed because the shots tend to make you feel like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck.”
Lemaster was picking up a black Pitbull for transport in the county earlier in the year. Little did she know, she was being exposed to rabies.
"I know that the dog has been in and out of the Fluvanna County Shelter at least three times, and I’ve spoken with multiple neighbors on more than one occasion,” Lemaster said.
On Friday, the Fluvanna County Sheriff's Office confirmed that several community members and deputies are also being treated for possible exposure to rabies.
It also disclosed that the same dog that tested positive for the disease had attacked also attacked a juvenile before being euthanized.
"As things stand, animals are allowed to run loose, good bad or indifferent. In this case, it’s causing a lot of heartaches,” Erika Proctor, who runs an animal shelter in Fluvanna County.
Proctor says it’s hard to tell how many people have been exposed. "Since then we've been really scrambling to try to get a grasp of what animals that dog might have come into contact with, what people the dog might have come into contact with."
Proctor is working to arrange a free rabies vaccination clinic in light of the situation. She says a dog off lease in the county is a common occurrence. “Unfortunately, because these dogs were allowed to run loose since there is not a leash law here in Fluvanna County dozens of dogs and cats, as well as wildlife, have been exposed to this.”
Advocates agree that until the law changes, this might not be the last time this happens.
"The tragedy of this situation just continues on,” Lemaster said.
The Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office also says it’s working with the commonwealth’s attorney to see if there are any charges that could be placed against the owners of the dog.