Pseudorabies outbreak confirmed in Sevier County
DE QUEEN – A pseudorabies outbreak has been confirmed near De
Queen in Sevier County. The outbreak claimed the lives of 10 hunting dogs after they encountered feral swine. The dogs were used to chase feral swine near a livestock pasture when an infected hog was caught and mauled by the dogs.

Feral swine are not native to the U.S. They are an invasive species, a public nuisance and a threat to Arkansas. They compete for wild animal food resources, destroy habitat by rooting and wallowing and will eat ground-nesting birds, eggs, fawns and young domestic livestock.

The dogs in Sevier County scavenged and ate the meat from the infected feral swine. Soon after consuming the meat, the dog’s showed signs of “mad-itch,” a common side effect of the viral infection. The symptoms were reported to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, Arkansas Health Department, U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Samples from the hog and dogs were collected and analyzed by Iowa State University as part of ongoing research on feral swine disease. Feral swine can be carriers of the pseudorabies virus which is transmitted through nasal and oral secretions. The virus is fatal to pets and livestock. The Arkansas Department of Health stresses that pseudorabies is not transmissible to humans, but feral swine can be carriers of multiple viruses, parasites and bacteria that can lead to severe illness, most notably swine brucellosis. Other diseases include anthrax, brucellosis, E.coli, hepatitis E virus, swine influenza virus, leptospirosis, rabies, salmonellosis, toxoplasmosis, trichinosis, tuberculosis and tularemia. Caution should be used when encountering and processing feral swine due to the potential health risks to both humans and pets.

The AGFC uses large-scale trapping as the most efficient and economical means currently available to reduce feral swine populations. Sport hunting of feral hogs has been more hindrance to hog removal than benefit. Illegal relocation of hogs for hunting purposes has spread the problem to new areas. The shooting of individual hogs also thwarts large-scale trapping efforts and makes it nearly impossible to catch the whole sounder, or family group, at once.

In 2013, the Arkansas Legislature passed a law prohibiting the possession, sale or transporting of any live feral hog, except to Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission-approved terminal facilities by licensed individuals. The intent of the law is to limit the spread and impact of feral swine, as well as the diseases to domestic livestock producers and native species.




Suspect arrested in Sevier County after multi-state pursuit
Authorities have identified the suspect involved in yesterday's high speed pursuit in Oklahoma and Sevier County as 42-year-old Chad Paul Denny of Spencerville, Okla.

According to law enforcement agencies involved in the pursuit, Denny was stopped by a McCurtain County deputy around 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon for reportedly driving on a suspended license. After stopping, Denny allegedly put his truck into gear and fled the scene.

The pursuit soon entered Sevier County and, after traveling at speeds of up to 80mph on several back roads, finally ended on Kellum Road after a McCurtain County deputy forced Denny's vehicle from the road. Authorities reported Denny attempted to ram the pursuing police cruisers on several occasions. An Oklahoma state trooper also left the roadway during the pursuit and became stuck in a ditch near the road. Fortunately the trooper was not injured.

Denny was then apprehended without incident. His truck was pulling a cargo trailer throughout the pursuit, which he reportedly admitted he had stolen. A knife, several grams of suspected methamphetamine and syringes were found inside Denny's vehicle. A passenger, Rhonda McCombs, was also taken into custody.

Denny is currently awaiting his pre-trial hearing in the Sevier County Jail with a $100,000 bond. Charges include possession of a controlled substance, theft by receiving, possession of drug paraphernalia and felony fleeing. Additional charges have been filed in McCurtain County.



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