NC woman hanging Halloween decorations finds rabid bat

(Jenna Gonzalez | WBTV)
(Jenna Gonzalez | WBTV)

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) — Jenna Gonzalez was trying to decorate her Huntersville home for Halloween when she got a scare she never would have expected. What appeared to be an animal fell out of a tree and landed right next to her feet.

“Something fell to the ground near my feet and made this hissing, some type of animal noise,” said Gonzalez.

She quickly realized that the animal was a bat. It didn’t take her long to realize something was wrong with the winged mammal.

“It was in no shape to fly. It looked very sick like it was dying,” Gonzalez described.

Her attention then turned to getting rid of the creature. She decided to call a neighbor.

“I have two dogs and a 3-year-old here, and I didn’t want any of them to touch it,” explained Gonzales.

A neighbor helped her put the bat in a box with a shovel. She then notified Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control, a division of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. An officer came out to inspect the bat and question the neighbors.

A few days later, Gonzalez learned the bat had tested positive for rabies.

“I was just shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” said Gonzalez. “It’s like something you think happens out in the country, not in the suburbs of Huntersville.”

Melissa Knicely, with CMPD Animal Care and Control, said that raccoons and bats are the animals that most commonly test positive for rabies in Meckenburg County. She confirmed that the bat Gonzalez encountered did test positive.

Gonzalez said she is thankful that no one touched the bat and that her dogs have rabies vaccinations. She warns others to keep their pets vaccinated and to be cautious of animals acting out of the norm.

“If you see a nocturnal animal that’s out during the daytime, something is not right there,” said Gonzalez.

Knicely said her agency has had 13 animals test positive for rabies in 2016. Two of those positive tests came from bats.

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