BALLINGER - The Texas Department of State Health Services notified the Ballinger Police Department on Thursday that a skunk, taken from the backyard of a residence, has tested positive for rabies.

BALLINGER - The Texas Department of State Health Services notified the Ballinger Police Department on Thursday that a skunk, taken from the backyard of a residence, has tested positive for rabies.

On Tuesday, Animal Control was called to the residence in the 1200 block of Broadway to respond to a skunk in the backyard. Interim Police Chief Stan Maresch said the skunk was sent immediately to the TDSHS for testing. The results were received Thursday.

Maresch said there were six dogs in two different residences near where the skunk was discovered that had to be quarantined.

"As far as we know all of the dogs were up to date on their vaccines," Maresch said. "They have all been given boosters as required."

The Center for Disease Control says animals that may have been exposed to rabies must be quarantined for 10 days. However, since the City of Ballinger does not have a facility to house that many animals, the dogs will be home quarantined for several days longer.

During the quarantine period, Animal Control Officer Sam Batts will be required to check on each of the dogs twice a day, Maresch said.

State law required for the Ballinger P.D. to notify all of the residents in the area. Officers were going door to door on Thursday.

Once infected, rabies is a virus that has a 100 percent fatality rate when left untreated in mammals including humans.

Public health officials recommend the following precautions to protect everyone from exposure to rabies:

*Report any sick or strange acting wildlife.

*Vaccinate pets and livestock.

*Vaccinate livestock with frequent human contact.

*Do not feed wildlife or stray animals and discourage them from seeking food near your home.

*Do not feed strays.

*Do not approach an unknown animal, either wild or domestic.

*Report all animal bites and any contact with bats to the health department in the county. Human rabies can be prevented with a series of shots.

*Keep garbage cans tightly covered and avoid storing food outside.

*Children should be instructed to tell an adult immediately if they were bitten or scratched by any animal.

Maresch said that all residents who have a question or see an animal that may be sick or infected, should call the Ballinger Police Department at 325-365-3591.