County supervisors have passed an emergency ordinance to prohibit dogs and cats from running at large during specific periods between next Monday and mid-July.
The ordinance passed Thursday night is a response to rabies being found recently in a raccoon near Big Stone Gap. Based on county health department information, “there is sufficient reason to believe a rabid animal is at large,” the ordinance notes.
This comes after the VDH announced confirmed last week that a Virginia resident contracted rabies in India after being bitten by a dog.
Dogs and cats cannot run at large in county District Three, which includes Big Stone Gap, from May 15-29; in District One, which stretches from Appalachia to Pound, from May 29-June 12; in District Two, which stretches from Pound to the Wise and Coeburn area, from June 12-26; and in District Four, which stretches from Coeburn to St. Paul, from June 26-July 10.
The ordinance requires pet owners to cooperate with the health department and the county animal control office in efforts to determine what dogs and cats have received the rabies vaccine.
Folks who allow their dog or cat to run at large during their district’s quarantine period could face a fine of $5 to $25 per violation.
Meanwhile, the town of Big Stone Gap is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set traps to catch other raccoons for testing.
For more information about the town’s trapping activity, call town offices at 523-0115.
To report an animal suspected of being rabid, particularly a raccoon, call the health department at 328-8000, county animal control at 679-6750 or county dispatch at 328-3756.
Lee County residents can contact the health department at 276-346-2014 or dispatch at 276-346-7777.