A dog attacks someone and is shot by police.

  • Unfortunate, but sadly it happens.

The sheriff’s investigator notifies the county health department, which says the dog needs to be tested for rabies.

  • Good. That sometimes gets missed.

The investigator then tells the owner that he has to remove the dog’s head or he’ll face a charge of disorderly conduct.

  • Uh… pardon?

That’s apparently what happened to a man in Crawford County Georgia, much to the chagrin of public health officials (and most people with common sense). As is often the case, the story’s a bit murky but the owner ended up removing the head under threat of arrest if he didn’t.

Not surprisingly, the rabies test was negative. Yet, it doesn’t excuse the strange and potentially dangerous situation. Removal of the head has to be done safely (something that requires some knowledge, training and equipment) and for testing to be possible, it has to be done properly so that enough intact brain is submitted to the laboratory.

It also shouldn’t get lost in the mail… but that’s another story.