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Rabid cow attacks farmer

5:06 PM, Feb 3, 2012   |    comments
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A quarantined cow from Parks' herd.

MAYSVILLE, Ga. (WXIA) -- As it was happening, Raymond Parks didn't think he'd be around later to tell the story. He was rushed and attacked by a 900 pound animal three weeks ago. The cow put a gash on his head and threw him into a barbed wire fence.

"I thought she would kill me before she'd leave me alone," Parks said.

As the cow head-butted him and broke some of his ribs, Parks went for his shotgun. He landed three blasts on the animal, but it didn't die. Instead, it slowly walked away and laid down, where a vet arrived several days later to put it down.

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Tests have now proved the animal had rabies, a rarity in cattle. Most rabies cases are seen in meat-eaters, or smaller animals like raccoons. Parks' Maysville farm is just down the road from where a rabid bobcat was discovered a few days ago. Jackson County has now seen three cases of rabies in January, a month that didn't see one case in 2011.

This week Parks was told 19 animals in his cattle herd will have to be quarantined for six months. If they don't show any signs of rabies after that time, they're clear. If they do, they'll have to be killed. It's a tough judgment for Parks, who was hoping to sell some of the cattle while prices were high. Now he's not sure he wants to continue.

"It's probably about time for me to retire, since I almost got killed," said Parks, who's in his early seventies.

But Pauline, his wife of more than 50 years, said he isn't likely to stop working.

"He'll never quit," she said. "He'll never retire."

Georgia Health Department officials say it's vitally important for animal lovers to vaccinate their pets. The shots are inexpensive, and can save pets from death and their owners from contact with the disease. For discounted shots in the Athens area visit the Athens Humane Society.

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