20 December 2016

Batshit crazy

This happened nearly two years ago. For whatever reason (laziness), I never finished this post. On with the story!

Matt was in the front yard with the dogs when he heard a horrible screeching sound. Of course Reese located the source first, and proceeded to closely sniff the offender. At first, Matt thought it was an injured bird, but closer inspection revealed that it was a bat. A BAT. In the middle of the day. Not good.
Not a bird.
I called animal control, and they sent someone out to investigate. In the meantime, we were supposed to trap, assuming we could do so safely. The bat hopped to the side of our house, screeching all the way. We cornered it into a box, then wedged in a furniture dolly. Just in case the tiny bat grew super strength to move the box, we didn't want a super strong crazy bat chasing us.
Note: I do not recommend wedging things against the gas meter. In retrospect, not our smartest decision.

After merely half an eternity, Mr. Animal Control arrived with his official grabby tool. He informed us that if he had to take the bat with him, it would be euthanized and checked for rabies. In all of Los Angeles County, only around 40 rabid bats are found each year, so odds were against our bat being infected. It would be best for everyone, especially the bat, if it just flew off.

He carefully used the grabby tool to put the bat on a ledge, hoping it would fly off. It just laid there, occasionally hopping or screeching. Mr. Animal Control admitted this was not a good sign, especially with it still being daylight out.
*poke poke* You can fly away now.
Or not, apparently.
It did the same thing when put on the ground. Well, Mr. Bat had his chance. Conveniently, we had a plethora of boxes lying around, so Mr. Animal Control used one to take the bat away in.

Good-bye! Never come back!
Now that the bat was safely in a box, Mr. Animal Control started asking questions about the dogs. "How close did they get?" "Is there any chance one got bit?" Apparently bat fangs are so sharp and tiny that not even humans always notice when they get bit. Finding a bat bite on a dog is like finding a needle in a haystack. In other words, time for booster shots!

As soon as he left, we took the dogs over to the vet. They were both current on their rabies shots, but standard procedure is to give them booster vaccines on day 0 and day 30, just in case. Unfortunately, standard procedure also involves notifying the county about a possible rabies case. Boo.

The county put both Reese and Zero under a thirty day quarantine, even though only Reese was ever actually within chomping distance of the bat. We had to send in official copies of both dogs' pre-existing and booster rabies certificates. Without proof of prior vaccines, the quarantine would be 180 days. The only good part was that we could do quarantine at our house, as opposed to some horrible county facility. Yay for small miracles?

If we got lucky and the bat tested negative for rabies, the quarantine would be lifted immediately. Of course, that did not happen. About a week later I got a phone call saying that the bat tested positively. Only 40 cases a year, and one had to literally land in our front yard.

Everyone managed to survive being cooped up in the house. We received an official letter from the county saying that the dogs were free to roam the streets again. Reese and Zero got their second round of boosters. Apparently their bat encounter was big news at the vet. Every time we went back, someone would ask us if these were the bat dogs.

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