Pets sheltered during hurricane are quarantined, owners given rabies shots


by Philip Townsend

Posted on September 6, 2011 at 5:42 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 6 at 6:16 PM

EDENTON, NC – After trying to take care of their pets during Hurricane Irene, some North Carolina residents are now living a nightmare.

Some Edenton residents put their pets in a shelter which was located at a gymnasium.  For many, it was the only safe option.

Now, pet owners are being told they must put their pet in long-term quarantine or have them euthanized.  Also, owners now have to get rabies shots.

"Everybody started finding out this place was filled with bats and black mold,” claims Billy Harvell. “Water constantly poured into the gym."

Harvell dropped off three dogs at the gym before the storm. Now he hasn't seen them in a week and he recently found out it could be much longer before he sees them again.

Chowan County has issued a mandatory quarantine for 15 dogs held at the shelter, because they were housed in the bat-infested building.

"It's not our fault that the county fumbled the ball and stuck everybody in there. The county knew for two years that bats lived in that building," Harvell said.

County officials say it's a necessary move to assure public safety. Meantime, pet owners like Holly Long don't understand why the dogs were allowed there in the first place.

"How many other people have been in and out of that place that didn't have to go through the quarantine process and didn't have to have the rabies shots,” asked Long.  “And they're punishing these dogs for something the county has been doing for two years."

Chowan County officials are meeting at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday to talk specifics about the quarantine.  The meeting will be held in the county administrative building in Edenton.