Dog put down by St. Louis County Animal Control did not have rabies

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Missouri health officials confirmed Tuesday that a dog rescued more than a week ago and later euthanized after biting a vet tech did not have rabies.

A postal worker found a dog collapsed in an alleyway between two St. Louis City homes on February 8 and contacted Stray Rescue.

Stray Rescue picked the dog up and took her a clinic in St. Louis County called Veterinary Specialty Services.

The dog, given the name “Faust, had shown signs of improvement but bit a veterinarian tech, breaking the skin. She was euthanized within six hours after being picked up by St. Louis County Animal Control.

Faust couldn’t lift herself up, she was unable to walk, swayed back and forth, and had inappropriate neurological responses to stimuli – all signs she might have had rabies.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services received Faust’s brain and spine on February 14. The remains were tested the same day and came back negative for rabies.

Stray Rescue disagreed with the decision to euthanize Faust and argued there were better options than putting the dog down.

St. Louis County Interim Health co-director Spring Schmidt’s issued the following statement late Tuesday afternoon:

“As reported, Faust, a six-year-old pit bull was in critical condition when she was transported to our facility on February 11th after biting a person through the skin. Our veterinary staff immediately observed Faust was suffering and in acute distress. She had multiple signs of neurological damage and other potential signs of rabies with no other presenting cause such as a head trauma. Faust was stumbling, had difficulty lifting herself up and expressed inappropriate neurological responses.

“These factors led to our decision to euthanize Faust. The veterinary staff followed all appropriate medical protocols in this case.

“The State of Missouri has confirmed Faust tested negative for rabies. Our veterinary staff’s decision, while difficult, has been supported by the State Veterinarian and the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association. The protocols we strictly adhere to are important for the protection of both people and animals.”

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