Officials with the Texas Department of State Health Services are working with the Erath County Humane Society to identify anyone who may have come into contact with a rabid puppy brought to the shelter last month.

“We had two puppies come in on December 31,” Serena Wright, executive director of the ECHS told the E-T. “A lady told us she found them at the roadside park on highway 281 between Stephenville and Hico.”

Wright said the female puppy - a Lab mix - began showing symptoms of an illness on Monday.

“She was walking funny and by Thursday she wasn’t walking at all and salivating a lot,” Wright said. “I thought it might be distemper but I wasn’t sure so I took her to the vet.” 

On Friday, Wright got word that the puppy tested positive for rabies and was put down.

Now, Wright and other shelter employees and volunteers who worked with the puppy will begin treatment as a precaution. 

Chris Van Deusen, director of media relations for the state health department, said about 12-15 people were possibly exposed to rabies after coming into contact with the animal.

“We know who was exposed at the shelter, but we don’t know how many members of the public have been exposed,” he said.

Van Deusen said anyone who believes they were exposed should contact their healthcare provider immediately. 

What constitutes exposure includes a bite or scratch that breaks the skin or contact with the dog’s saliva. 

Wright doesn’t believe there is any real danger to the public because visitors to the shelter are not allowed to touch puppies who have not been vaccinated.

This particular puppy - named Miss Furbulous - had not received all of its vaccines and was not available to the public.