Several families in a Garner neighborhood have lost their pets because one homeowner did not have his dog vaccinated.
A sign has been posted at the intersection of Big Buck Lane and Bushy Branch Drive to warn people about a rabies alert.
Bernard Owens lives in the neighborhood and recently had to put down his dog because it contracted rabies.
"They told me she had symptoms of a rabid dog," Owens said.
His dog Susie got out her cage and wandered into the woods for days. Once Susie showed signs of rabies, she had to be euthanized, along with other dogs she played with in the neighborhood. State law requires potentially rabid pets to be put down unless owners agree to support a six-month quarantine.
"It's kind of hurting to know that my dog caused them to lose their pets," Owens said.
Rabies not only affected the pets in the neighborhood, but the residents as well. Several are currently undergoing rabies treatment for possible exposure.
"I was so frightened. When i went to the hospital I thought I was going to get needles in my stomach. I thought I may die," resident Pam Roy said.
Roy is undergoing treatment after Suzie licked her hand where there was an open wound.
"It's been a bit of a struggle," Roy said. "My real concern and my fright is what's in the backyard because it is all wooded. We have coyotes, we have black bears, we have foxes raccoons and bobcats."
All of this could be prevented if dog owners keep their pets' rabies shots current.
"If your pet has been properly vaccinated against rabies, and comes into contact with a potentially rabid animal, it needs a rabies vaccine booster shot within 72 hours of that contact," said Sue Lynn Ledford, Community Health Director for Wake County.
"Have your dog vaccinated. It happened to me, it could happen to anybody," Owens said.
For those who need vaccinations, Wake County will hold a rabies vaccination clinic on Thursday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Quest Fellowship Church on Raynor Road in Garner. The vaccines cost $5.