Letters to the editor
by Meghann Evans
Thanks to town employees
We at Main Street Diner and Dairy Bar would like to thank you for the many hours you all put in this past weekend to restore our water, despite all of the cold, wet weather. On behalf of the town of Walnut Cove, we are grateful for your hard work and dedication throughout the year. Thank you again to our police officers and utility workers for making the town a great place to live and work!
The employees of Main Street Diner
Walnut Cove, N.C.
Concern over rabid animals
To the editor:
In the past week, there have been several sightings of apparently rabid skunks in Stokes County; my husband and I can vouch for at least three, possibly four, within easy range of Camp Hanes. The quandary is how many creatures have NOT been sighted and apprehended; how many other animals running wild are infected and passing disease along the food chain; when and where will they appear?
North Carolina has the potential ability to follow the example of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which has a program for bait with vaccine to be distributed in susceptible areas. However, the representatives we send to Raleigh (and Washington) seem to have no interest in pursuing this course, which involves approving — and more essentially — funding a program of wildlife vaccination. No wonder; they are elected with a mandate to seek more areas in which to slash denuded budgets further, regardless of the effect.
Our county Wildlife and Animal Control people have their hands tied, leaving the majority of the “control” in the hands of individual citizens, not always the best method. When I once asked a NCDA & CS agent about the rabies bait, he stated that there was “not enough documentation” to prove its worth, and they were “waiting to see how it worked in Virginia.” That was nearly ten years ago. I hardly feel it would receive continued funding if it were a failure. The real failure is in not at least trying it in North Carolina. The fault lies with those who demand their representatives further reduce taxes, accomplished by reducing funding of services. Meanwhile, for the rabies issue, our pets, our children and adults who may come in contact with sick animals are all at risk.
There is no program available in North Carolina to obtain vaccine bait by placing an order to Raleigh or local veterinarians, nor can Virginia send it across state lines. Apparently funding is so limited that Animal Control representatives ask that we simply kill and bury sick animals. They can’t afford to confirm rabies is the cause of the aggressive symptoms and unusual behavior unless a person is bitten. For someone without capability to kill an apparently diseased, attacking animal, the risk of spreading disease heightens. Also does the risk of having to take rabies shots without knowing if one is dealing with an actual case of rabies or some other neuropathic disease that would not be transmitted as is rabies.
Sadly, the failure of the current reactive policy is obvious by the (apparent) appearance of the disease. The realization that becoming proactive would be more successful is denied us by the budget slashers. People should realize that at some point, cutting taxes ever further is cutting our own throats. The various means of providing basic protection for our county and state citizens are being gutted to the point of extinction — risking an increase in life-threatening situations. Do we really want to save a few pennies on our individual tax bills to put at risk a child, an elderly friend or relative, a handicapped person, a surprised (and unarmed) person who might be unable to evade attack, or even a pet and valuable livestock? Or do we want to reduce or possibly eliminate the risk from wild unvaccinated animals in conjunction with the existing vaccination program for domesticated animals?
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