Rabies confirmed in Oriental — Town under quarantine

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ORIENTAL — Health officials acted quickly this week after the horrendous disease — which can kill almost any type of mammal, including humans — was detected and confirmed by Berkley Hill, the Pamlico County Animal Control Officer.

In a two-page public notice distributed to media outlets, government jurisdictions, and other relevant players, Hill announced a ‘quarantine district’ throughout the town limits of Oriental, in accordance with state law.


Quarantine of districts infected with rabies:

An area may be declared under quarantine against rabies by the local health director when the disease exists to the extent that the lives of persons are endangered. When quarantine is declared, each animal in the area that is required to be vaccinated shall be confined on the premises of the owner, or in a veterinary hospital, unless the animal is on a leash or under the control and in the sight of a responsible adult.

Unlike many towns, Oriental has no leash law on the books — favored by many residents as adding to the charm and ambience of the small waterfront community. Although no one in an official capacity has, as of yet, criticized the potential problems caused by free-roaming pets, Hill’s announcement hints that owners need to take immediate action to restrain all animals:

Destroying stray or feral animals in quarantine districts:

When quarantine has been declared and stray or feral animals continue to run uncontrolled in the area, any peace officer or Animal Control Officer shall have the right, after reasonable effort has been made to apprehend the animals, to destroy the stray or feral animals and properly dispose of their bodies.

Authorities say that prior to removal of an animal, efforts will be made to identify and return the animal to the owner. However, in those cases where the owner cannot be located — and the animal can be captured — the stray will, in all probability, be transported to the Craven Pamlico Animal Services Center (shelter) for holding.

At that point, owners have just three days to reclaim their pets — unless the holding pens become over-populated. In that case, the prospect of euthanasia looms.