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Newhall family discovers rabid bat

Posted: July 2, 2014 2:42 p.m.
Updated: July 2, 2014 2:42 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Steve Shatkin. Photo courtesy of Steve Shatkin.
Photo courtesy of Steve Shatkin.

The latest rabid bat to turn up in Los Angeles County was discovered last week in the garage of a Newhall home, one of the residents said Wednesday.

Newhall resident Steve Shatkin said that the bat was discovered by his daughter in the family’s garage last Friday.

“She was walking to her car, the car was parked in the garage, and she had to step over it,” he said. “She basically freaked out.”

Shatkin said his wife and daughter called him to let him know that the bat, which was apparently dead, was in the garage.

Shatkin recommended putting a cup over the bat to be safe and went to investigate when he got home.

“I went over to where the cup was and just kind of moved it a little bit,” he said. “I heard the bat squeaking, so I knew it wasn’t dead.”

He called the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control and they came out to the house on Peachland Avenue shortly thereafter to collect the bat.

This represents the 11th rabid bat that has been discovered in Los Angeles County so far this year, according to the county Department of Public Health.

Four of those have been discovered in the Santa Clarita Valley, according to county records dated Tuesday. One was found dead in a swimming pool in Agua Dulce in February. Another, in April, was seen hanging on an outside wall at a residence in Newhall and was later found on the ground.

Another bat was discovered on a patio in Newhall last month. That bat was staggering as it walked, and the resident covered it with a pool net until animal control arrived, according to information from the Department of Public Health.

Fourteen of the 34 rabid bats found in Los Angeles County last year were located in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The Santa Clarita Valley typically sees a high number of the confirmed rabid bat cases in Los Angeles County because of its high bat population, according to officials.

Shatkin can attest to that.

“There are actually quite a few at our home, and at dusk we sit in the backyard and watch them drop out of the eaves and fly around,” he said.

Most bats do not have rabies, but county health officials say bats found lying on the ground or seen flying around during the day may be rabid.

Residents are cautioned not to touch such animals and urged to call the county Animal Control department.
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