WILLIAMSON CO., Tenn. – To the surprise of many in Williamson County, the local animal control agency has made drastic changes to its rabies policy.
On Thursday, Nashville's News 2 Investigates spoke with Doug Brightwell of the animal control agency who explained that officials will follow new guidelines regarding what animals can be trapped and sent to the state lab for testing.
"We are not trapping for the sake of trapping for relocation. We are trapping and testing for wildlife-human exposure of you [and] your family [and] your domestic animal- your cat or dog," Brightwell explained.
According to Brightwell, all of the animal control officials are only trained for domestic animals.
"We have no formal training on wild animals at all," he said.
Animal control officials currently use specific criteria governing what animals can be trapped and sent to the state lab for testing.
Officials told Nashville's News 2 Investigates that if you see an animal acting erratically, but there is no confirmed contact with your pet or your family the agency will not come out to view the animal unless it has bitten a person or animal.
"Unless you were exposed to saliva of the animal which is the mode of transmission for rabies," Brightwell explained.
So far this year, Brightwell said the Williamson County Animal Control Agency has trapped nine animals with positive exposure to humans or pets. The animals were then tested at the state lab, with all of the results coming back negative.
According to the State Department of Health there have been 48 confirmed cases of rabies in Tennessee this year, however none of the cases were in Williamson County.
Officials said Marshall County had four skunks to test positive for rabies, followed by Rutherford County with three positive skunk tests.