Committee approves rabies clearance letters

Benton City Council's Community Services/Animal Control Committee met Tuesday night to discuss rabies clearance letters for the animal control department.

Terry Parsons, manager of Animal Control Services, was present at the meeting.

Parsons stated that the Arkansas rabies law requires any animal placed into quarantine under rabies suspicions to receive a clearance letter from a veterinarian prior to being removed from quarantine to prove that the animal does not have rabies. This releases the city from any liability, Parsons added.

He stated that the cost of the letters is approximately $10 per letter and that the cost could be recovered from the owner if there is an owner involved in the situation.

Alderman Kerry Murphy brought up concerns regarding safety for the animal control officers since they would have to move a quarantined, potentially rabies infected animal to and from a veterinary facility. Parsons stated that he had already considered the risks and would require all animal control officers to be vaccinated for rabies.

He added that if the situation was too risky they would bring the veterinarian to animal control to perform the rabies testing at the facility.

An ordinance is needed to amend the current animal control ordinance to include these changes. The committee approved the ordinance, which will be heard before the full council on June 9.
All committee and council meetings are open to the public.