Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein have announced the date of the first of six free rabies vaccination clinics provided by the Erie County Department of Health in 2016. The clinic will be 3-7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27, at the North Buffalo Community Center at 203 Sanders Road in North Buffalo.
"Our free rabies clinics are a great way for Erie County to help protect families and their pets from rabies," Poloncarz said. "In 2015, 4,716 dogs, cats and ferrets were vaccinated countywide through these clinics. I strongly encourage pet owners around the county to take advantage of this valuable and mandated public health initiative."
"These vaccinations are a good way to minimize any problems that may arise from contact between wildlife, pets and possibly their human owners" Burstein said. "I want to remind Erie County residents that if they or their pets have been exposed to a wild animal, or bitten by a dog or cat, they should contact the Erie County Department of Health at 961-6800."
Burstein continued: "We are pleased to continue working with our valuable rabies clinic partners in 2016. The assistance of the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society, the SPCA serving Erie County and the veterinary technology program at Medaille College, truly help us provide this vital and popular service to our community."
Residents are cautioned that any pet is at risk of being exposed to a rabid wild animal and that rabies is always fatal in animals. Bats often find their way into homes, as well as raccoons, fox or skunk gaining entrance through "doggy doors." To date, ECDOH has identified 34 animals that tested positive for rabies in 2015, including one cat that had not been vaccinated.
Senior public health sanitarian Peter Tripi added, "Our goal is to have 100 percent of Erie County pets vaccinated to protect them from rabies. It is important that both "indoor" and "outdoor" cats receive vaccinations, as a rabid animal such as a bat could enter your home undetected. In addition, despite owners' best efforts, indoor cats occasionally escape to explore the great outdoors, where they are at great risk for encountering a rabid animal no matter where you live, city, suburbs or a rural location."
Additional rabies vaccination clinics will be held in May and September of 2016, with dates and details to be announced at a later date.
The North Buffalo Community Center is located at 203 Sanders Road in Buffalo, off Colvin Boulevard, south of Kenmore Avenue.