A Ventura family's four dogs and their kitten were euthanized Friday by county animal control officials after one of the pets was seen holding a rabid bat in its mouth, officials said.
The family made the decision, said Kathy Jenks, director of the Ventura County Animal Regulation Department. The family could have decided to quarantine the pets for up to six months, she said.
"The officer told them repeatedly they didn't have to do this," Jenks added.
The adult dogs were a Shih Tzu, Labrador retriever mix, basset hound and a golden retriever that were owned by a family on Sagamore Lane, Jenks said.
The Shih Tzu and the basset hound had not been recently vaccinated against rabies and the Shih Tzu came in contact with the bat Oct. 20 at the family's home, Jenks said.
None of the four residents of the home, which includes two young children, had contact with the bat, said Linda Vrtis, a public health nurse for the county.
"It's a bad situation," Vrtis said. 'It could have been avoided if [the pets] had been current" with vaccinations.
The bat was seized and destroyed by animal regulation officials. It is the fifth rabid bat found in the county this year and the second in Ventura in less than a month, officials said. There were 10 rabid bats found in the county in 1997.
A person exposed to rabies should wash the wound immediately with soap and water and call Animal Regulation at 388-4341, officials said.