Bats test positive for rabies in Jefferson, Oldham counties

Prospect family discovers sick bats living in their shutters
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Updated: Jul. 16, 2021 at 11:33 PM EDT
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PROSPECT, Ky. (WAVE) - A Prospect homeowner has found nearly a dozen bats in her yard since Sunday, half of them appearing to be rabid.

One of the bats, so far, has tested positive for rabies.

The homeowner is now asking health officials to do what’s best for the safety of her children and community.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife has confirmed three bats from Jefferson County and one bat from Oldham County have recently tested positive for rabies; all of them have been big, brown bats. Jessica Zipper Carr said she’s experienced one of these rabid bats first-hand, and she’s hoping experts take it seriously.

For the past three years, Zipper Carr and her family have lived comfortably in their Prospect home, with the small, furry, flying creatures residing in their shutters.

“We didn’t bother them; they didn’t bother us,” she said.

Zipper Carr said that over the years, her friends and neighbors always have enjoyed the show after sundown.

“Sometimes we’d come out, we’d have people over and they’d want to know when the bats are coming out,” she said. “We’d come out here and we’d have lawn chairs out here, watch the bats come out. I think one night we counted 47 bats.”

But now, Zipper Carr isn’t as interested in watching the cloud of bats fly over her community. Instead, she wants them gone for the safety of her family and neighbors.

“Sunday afternoon, my son said, ‘There’s a bat on the front porch,’” she said. “And this bat was very sick, diseased, flies were swarming it, maggots were growing on it.”

Zipper Carr said her husband safely contained the bat, which she said tested positive for rabies. Since Sunday, her family has found six more bats all appearing sick.

“Monday, I come home, there’s a bat by the back door, not as obviously sick as the Sunday bat, but it wasn’t moving,” she said. “A Second Chance Wildlife came and picked it up for me and they were going to hold it until the state could pick it up for testing that following day. Wednesday, same deal, there was another bat. Wednesday, we (had) three actually.”

While two of the bats tested negative, and results pending on a third, Zipper Carr said she’s planning to remove her shutters Monday. She said that according to the CDC, some of the bats will be able to fly away and find a new habitat.

“I asked why aren’t we capturing the entire colony,” she said. “Euthanizing, which is required for testing all of them to see what we’re truly dealing with here, and the CDC’s response to Fish & Wildlife, and the state veterinarian, was it’s not in the best interest of all parties involved. And my personal opinion is the parties involved is me and my family, this community and the bats.”

On Monday, the Louisville Metro Health Department and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife are expected to provide an update on the bats.

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