Reported animal bites in Mesa County are up seven percent compared to this time last year, which was a record year with 432 total reported bites. Rabies is typically found in bats in Mesa County during the summer. Take precautions to prevent rabies to protect your pets, your home and your family.

Two pet dogs on the Front Range tested positive for rabies earlier this week. These were the first cases of rabies among dogs in Colorado since 2003.

“Rabies exists naturally in the environment. It’s lurking out there,” Mesa County Animal Services Manager Doug Frye said. “Rabies is fatal once it’s symptomatic, so prevention is important.”

Protect your pets:

  • Stay up-to-date on rabies vaccination.
    • Pets must be licensed with Mesa County Animal Services. In order to license your pet, it must have an up-to-date rabies vaccination, which is administered annually or every three years.
    • Unvaccinated pets that are exposed to rabies could need to be quarantined or euthanized.
  • Leash pets while walking or hiking, keeping them away from wild animals – dead or alive.
  • Keep pets inside at night.
  • Call your veterinarian if you think your pet has been in contact with a wild animal.

Protect your home:

  • Animal-proof your trashcans. Lock lids and do not leave bags of garbage outside of cans.
  • Prune tree branches that overhang the roof.
  • Keep screens on windows and cover small openings, such as chimneys, furnace ducts and eaves.
  • If you find a bat in your home, contact Mesa County Animal Services immediately. Do not remove the bat yourself.

Protect yourself and your family:

  • Avoid contact with wild animals.
  • Do not try to rescue injured or sick wild animals or keep wild animals as pets.

“Talk with your kids about rabies and make sure they know not to approach strange animals,” Frye said.

If you suffer an animal bite – from a pet or a wild animal, contact your health care provider immediately. Report any stray or ill animals to Mesa County Animal Services at (970) 242-4646.