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A bat found in Mesa County tested positive for the rabies virus last week. This is the first animal to test positive for rabies in Mesa County since 2014. Protect your pets, your home and your family to prevent rabies.

Mesa County resident Dianne Dershem turned in a bat carcass for testing after she found her dog Sabria playing with it last week.

“I’ve heard about bats carrying diseases including rabies, so I thought, ‘I just better keep it to make sure,’” Dershem said. “Sabria has her shots, but it still scared me. I was really surprised when it came back positive.”

Since the bat tested positive for the potentially fatal disease, Sabria needed to get a booster for the vaccine and will be in quarantine for 45 days to make sure she isn’t infected. Rabies can be passed to humans through saliva, so it’s important to be sure Sabria wasn’t infected.

If you find an animal carcass or an animal acting strangely in your home or on your property, call Mesa County Animal Services at (970) 242-4646 for further instruction.

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 and keep 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:

  • Leave wild animals wild.
    • Do not rescue injured or sick wild animals.
    • Do not keep wild animals as pets.