Mason County News
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City Corner
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 • Posted November 23, 2011

The City of Mason is having a new problem that may affect many of our residents in the coming months. The Department of Health Services has notified us of the increasing number of rabies cases in the Hill Country and particularly in surrounding counties, with Llano reporting 23 cases and Burnet reporting 52 cases in the recent months. Mason has not had as many at this time, but the concern is that the problem is moving this direction and we need to be alert to the possibility and watch the wild and stray animals around town carefully. With this in mind, the City Animal Control employees have begun to examine and try to contain the large population of feral cats in town. One of the real problems is that when dogs or other animals get rabies they exhibit definite symptoms and can be quarantined, but cats can often carry the virus and not be directly affected but still spread it to other animals or to humans. The City has often trapped feral cats in the past, and held them at the “dog pound” until they might be adopted; however now we have a greater concern about the health and safety of our employees and the general public. When we are talking about feral cats that have unknown vaccination history and possible wild animal exposure and we consider giving a stray cat to a citizen, what if one of these cats develop rabies in their care and bites them or another family pet? Because of these concerns, and with the advice of the state rabies control specialist for our area, the City will continue to trap stray cats and hold them for the required three days, but unless an owner or the animal’s veterinarian can show a valid rabies vaccination they will not be released back into the neighborhood. We are hesitant to begin such a hard-hearted policy, but with the health and safety of the community and the increasing threat of a deadly disease in our area it is important that we take steps now to protect everyone in Mason. If your cat goes missing for a couple of days and you have registered it with the Animal Control department and it has a current rabies vaccine (in the past three years) then it might be a good idea to call the City office and just check on the current residents at the pound and be sure we have not recently caught your pet. We hate to take this stronger stand with the cats around town, but we feel it is important to the health of our community, and if you have any questions or concerns please call the City offices and talk to the City Administrator, John Palacio and we will try to address your issues.In other areas, the Christmas lights and decorations are going up all around town, and this weekend we will be turning them on at the Alpha Beta Psi sponsored Light Up the Town event. This is a very special time of year when the square and the whole town of Mason begins to look more spirited for Christmas. I hope you can take a few minutes to drive around and enjoy the lights and festive atmosphere, and don’t forget to shop at home whenever you can during this Christmas season. With Thanksgiving this weekend and all of the many different events of the next few weeks, this is a very special time of year to enjoy the best hometown in Texas. We in Mason have so very much to be thankful for and I hope that with the hustle of family, dinners, football and Christmas decorating you will take a few minutes to pause and realize our blessings and how grateful we should be for living everyday in this little bit of heaven.Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley

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