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Published February 23, 2012, 05:52 PM

Thief River Falls Couple Rescues Dog From Rabid Skunk

THIEF RIVER FALLS (WDAZ-TV) - A Thief River Falls women is undergoing a series of rabies shots after tangling with a rabid skunk.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

THIEF RIVER FALLS (WDAZ-TV) - A Thief River Falls women is undergoing a series of rabies shots after tangling with a rabid skunk.

Regina Goodhall came into contact with the skunk after it attacked her dog on the morning of February 11.

Regina and her husband Russ were inside their rural Thief River Falls home when they heard their dog Cassie yelping outside.

They found a skunk had the dog by the throat.

Russ says he has only seen one skunk on their property since he and his wife bought it ten years ago. And he won't forget the second time.

"The skunk had the dog by the throat. While fortunately that dog has a lot of hair on him and all he had was a mouth full of hair," Russ said.

Not letting go, Russ's wife Regina tried to pry the jaws of the skunk open. Still not letting go, she hit skunk on the head. It finally let up, but this skunk wasn't about to leave.

"She went over and threw the skunk outside of the fence. Picked the dog up, went into the house and before she got into the house, the skunk was up on the steps here because he came back through the fence," Russ said.

Russ says the skunk then tried to enter the home through a doggie door. The couple attempted to trap the skunk, but Russ says it began to chase him when it was approached.

Russ says, in self defense, he was forced to killed the skunk with a shovel.

"This one here was coming after us, so we figured it was rabid," Russ said.

The head of the skunk was sent into the State Health Department where it tested positive for rabies.

Neither Regina or the dog were actually bit by the skunk. But Regina is getting rabies shots as a precaution. Cassie the dog had been vaccinated for the virus, but will be observed for symptoms for the next month.

Veterinarian Bruce Pierce says because of situations like this, pets should always be vaccinated.

"In Minnesota, we are one of the top states in the nation for rabies problems, so it's very important," Pierce said.

The dog wasn't due for another rabies shot until October but did receive a another shot after the skunk ordeal as a precaution.

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