• Officials: At least dozen people, including child, treated for rabies after contact with puppy

    By: Dan Tordjman



    When Wayne Erwin held a fish fry at his home a few weeks ago he had no idea that his puppy was carrying a deadly disease.

    "A bunch of my friends had their grandkids here and they were playing with her," said Erwin.

    The puppy, named Penny, had rabies. A week later, she started showing symptoms. A few days later she died.

    There's no indication that Penny bit anyone (the most common way rabies can be spread from dogs to humans) but as a precaution 12 people who were at the fish fry, including Erwin, his son and granddaughter, are now all taking rabies shots.

    "It's bad, I feel sorry that it happened," said Ewin. He reiterated that he had no idea that Penny was even sick at the fish fry.

    The news would get even worse for Erwin when he found out Animal Control had to take 11 other dogs he owned and euthanize them.

    Several of the dogs were current on their rabies vaccinations but all dogs still need booster shots within five days of being exposed to the disease. However, by the time Penny had been diagnosed with rabies, it was already too late.

    "It's pretty bad, it's pretty lonesome around here," said Erwin.

    Iredell County Animal Control offers vaccinations in a fast and easy way. The shelter has a drive-through clinic, where dogs can get their shots for just $6.

    "You can't beat it," said Dr. David DeQuick, one of the veterinarians who works the monthly clinics.

    "This is a case where it's got to get everybody's attention ... to get their pets vaccinated," DeQuick said.

    Next Up: