Stray cats, dogs can pose health risk

Published 3:56 am Saturday, July 20, 2019

Dear Editor,

I am eighty years old and was attacked by a stray cat a few weeks ago while visiting my next-door neighbor. It was a strange and unusual situation. As I was walking back across the yard, my neighbor said, “There is a black cat coming up behind you.” The cat made a blood-curdling scream and grabbed my leg before she finished the sentence.

Although I could hardly move, I tried to kick and shake it off. My leg was bloody from knee to ankle when the cat finally let go. It ran across the street and back into our yard.

My neighbor called 911 and a police officer arrived in minutes. He called for another officer, who shot and killed the cat. While I was in hospital ER triage, the officer came to assure me the cat was dead, in a bag, on ice to be sent for rabies testing.

The police officer and ER staff assured me that the department of animal control would notify me the following day of the rabies testing results, which would determine whether or not I would need prophylactic rabies treatment. I took them at their word and left ER feeling confident.

However, my confidence level went to zero by 7 p.m. the following day. Since I had not been notified, I telephoned the police station and was informed that I would not be hearing from animal control officer this day because “he works 8 to 4 and is gone for the day” but maybe he would call me the next day.

The following morning at 10 a.m., I telephoned for animal control officer again and was informed, “The cat was not sent for testing because some of the buck shot hit the head.” Also I was informed the cat was “probably not rabid,” but it would be up to me to decide whether or not to seek prophylactic treatment.

I am not the expert but I know someone used poor judgment by not notifying me and I don’t know if I was most frightened, angry or disappointed in the system.

Rabies is a deadly disease, and I was forced to take rabies shots in order to protect myself, because the authorities did not handle the situation properly!


Nancy Bennett