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Health

Rabid Bats Continue to Wreak Havok on Moorpark; City Officials Are Like, Deal With It

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Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge Rabid bats.
  • Rabid bats.
Could there be anything more insane/dreadful to discover, or even imagine, hidden beneath your porch/roof shingles, than a swarming nest of rabid bats?

Aside from maybe rabid raccoons -- or rabid possoms, or rabid rattlesnakes, or the neighbor's rabid purse-dogs -- we think not.

But uh: This nightmare is real. The plight of rabid-bat victim Steve Spence over the last couple weeks has been unthinkable:

First, he and his dog were rushed to the hospital for bites they sustained on their own property. "I immediately thought, 'I'm screwed,'" Spence told the Los Angeles Times after watching the bat leave a little red mouth-mark on his foot while taking out the trash. (Gross.) Afterward, he said he couldn't go into his yard "without searching ahead of time for bats," and was "afraid to open [his] windows." And we don't blame him.

Now, though his house has been quarantined, Spence tells KTLA the bats are "coming from across the neighborhood" -- flying "within a foot of our head from every direction." Of a dozen bats found at four homes near Moorpark College the last two months, 10 have reportedly tested positive for rabies.

Jesus Christ. Isn't there an Alfred Hitchcock movie about this?

The most frightening part of all is that Moorpark city officials, instead of acting the least bit sympathetic or offering to help, are threatening to slap homeowners with "nuisance abatement" fines if they don't get rid of the bats, according to KTLA.

And though the Ventura County Health Department seems pretty pissed about the city's inadequacy, and has quarantined Spence's house, it's not exactly jumping to the rescue, either -- instead just ordering "the city to handle the public health threat."

Perhaps not the best moment for county vs. city jurisdiction quarrels?

The KTLA piece ends on an apocalyptic goodbye note: "Untreated rabies is almost always fatal."

Oh, cool. Good to know. In case you haven't pissed your pants yet:

 

We'll update with response from the Ventura County Public Health Department, once they get back to us. If we even make it until then...

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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