Given the growing epidemic of rabies in Vermont, precautions should be taken when handling and disposing of dead animals. The Vermont State Health Laboratory will test dead animals for rabies when there has been human exposure to a potentially rabid animal. Therefore, the following guidelines will ensure the safety of all persons disposing of dead animals.
- If there is suspected or confirmed exposure between the potentially rabid wildlife (skunk, raccoon, fox, etc...) and a human or domestic animal (dog, cat), do not dispose of the carcass. Contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture at: 800-472-2437 (800-4-RABIES) and follow their instructions as to proper handling and transport of the carcass.
Additionally, the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) can be contacted Monday through Friday between 0800 to 1630 hours to answer questions about rabies at 1-800-640-4374. Further information about rabies and other sources of information can be found at the following VDH’s websites:
- http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/rabies/Rabies.aspx and
Lastly, if the two agencies above are not available, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is another point-of-contact. Their Headquarters number is (802) 878-1564 and
the local game warden can be contacted via the Vermont State Police Barracks in Williston, VT. See the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s website for further phone numbers. http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/laws_contactwarden.cfm
- Employees who respond to animal complaints will make a determination if the animal in question needs to be destroyed or not. If the animal in question may need to be tested for rabies - it should NOT be destroyed by shooting it in the head. The brain must be preserved for testing. If there are any questions whether the animal should be destroyed or not a Vermont Fish & Game Warden will be contacted.
- Employees are NOT to handle, transport, or come into contact with any wildlife, nor will Employees handle, transport, or come into contact with any domesticated animals that may be or are rabid. If an animal is on private property the property owner will take care of the disposal of the animal. If the animal is on a public roadway or city property the South Burlington Highway Department will be contacted for disposal of the animal.