We at the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control agree with Tom Scott's assertion in his Sept. 10 letter to the editor, "DHEC slow after dog attack," that if you have a vicious dog in your neighborhood, don't call DHEC; call your county animal control office.
Our responsibility is to assure victims that the biting animal exhibits no symptoms of rabies.
When DHEC was first made aware of this incident, the responding animal control officer was advised by our staff to bring the dogs in question into the county Animal Care Center for quarantine to ensure the dog did not show signs of rabies.
We learned Sept. 6 the dog in question was still loose. The county's animal control officers had to set a trap to capture the dog. On Sept. 10 we received the name of the person keeping the dog and instructed that person to confine the animal so that it could be observed at least twice a day for any symptoms.
In this case, the dog came through the confinement period without showing any symptoms and has been released.
We have shared the timeline and our actions with Mr. Scott as we do for anyone potentially exposed to this fatal disease.
DHEC works closely with animal control staff throughout the state on a 24-hour basis to protect our state's citizens from rabies.
If you have a vicious dog roaming your neighborhood, call animal control. If someone is bitten and exposed to rabies, DHEC will be notified and we respond immediately.
The writer lives in Conway.