St. Louis County Interim Health Co-Director Spring Schmidt’s Statement on Faust
On February 11, St. Louis County Animal Care and Control took in Faust, a 6 year-old female pitbull from Veterinary Specialty Services, after VSS reported that she bit one of its staff.
Missouri law and St. Louis County ordinance require all dogs who have bitten a human and broken skin to be quarantined for rabies observation for a minimum of 10 days unless signs of neurological defects indicate rabies and in that case, the animal should be euthanized.
Rabies observation consists of looking for neurological defects or issues. VSS had already observed serious signs of neurological defects in Faust prior to the bite including being comatose and non-responsive to stimuli. Faust was in critical condition.
The St. Louis County Animal Care and Control veterinary staff immediately observed Faust had multiple signs of neurological damage and other potential signs of rabies with no other presenting cause such as a head trauma. Faust was stumbling, had difficulty lifting herself up and expressed inappropriate neurological responses. We confirmed Faust was suffering and in obvious distress.
St. Louis County consulted with the State Veterinarian on the observation and the rabies protocol. Dr Pue, Missouri Public Health Veterinarian, agreed that the rabies protocol was required in this case.
Missouri statute and St. Louis County ordinance prohibit the transfer of an animal with potential rabies to any other facility or rescue and require that the animal be euthanized. That protocol was followed in this case.
The person who was bit is receiving attention at a local hospital and also will require follow-up on rabies protocol.
The mission and priority of St. Louis County Animal Care is to protect the welfare of every animal in our care and we take that responsibility seriously. While we regret the necessity of this outcome, it was clearly in the best interest of the animal and the public. All applicable laws and protocol were followed in this case.