Five different venues will play host to popular clinics for owners of dogs, cats, ferrets
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and Erie County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Gale R. Burstein announced five free rabies vaccination clinics have been scheduled this year for owners of dogs, cats and ferrets who want to protect their pets.
The popular clinics will be conducted by the county's health department in association with the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society, the Medaille College veterinary technology program and the SPCA Serving Erie County. County officials urge pet owners to attend one of the five vaccination opportunities, especially in light of 2015 data that shows 37 animals in Erie County were found to have rabies and six rabid animals having been observed so far in 2016, including raccoons in Aurora, Hamburg and Newstead.
"These clinics consistently rank as one of the most popular services that county government provides to our residents," Poloncarz said. "Nearly 600 pet owners took advantage of this opportunity at the most recent rabies clinic we held in January and we expect to see similar numbers at each of these upcoming events as we reach out to pet owners countywide by providing a safe and convenient opportunity to allow their animals to be vaccinated at no charge."
"There are two clinics in May for residents to take advantage of and three in September, so we are encouraging all pet owners to check the dates and add this free, vital service to their schedules," Burstein said. "Vaccination is required by law, it's free, and it protects people and their pets, so there's no reason to put it off. With the onset of summer and an increased chance of contact between wildlife, pets and humans, rabies is always a concern."
Vaccinations, which are required by state law, will be available for dogs, cats and ferrets. Owners are asked to bring their pet to the clinic either on a leash or in a carrier and with a copy of any vaccination records for their animals.
"County residents need to be extremely vigilant this year as the upcoming warm weather approaches," Erie County Senior Public Health Sanitarian Peter Tripi said. "A harsh winter helps overall with animal population control, however, an unusually mild winter such as the one we experienced recently allows for the possibility of a significant increase in wildlife numbers like terrestrial rabies vectors such as raccoons, skunks and foxes, as well as bats that can get into our homes. We must vaccinate our pets, whether they are indoor or outdoor animals, as that is our first line defense against humans contracting rabies.
"Most recently a raccoon tested positive for rabies and was found on a rural farm-like setting. That should serve as a reminder to vaccinate all livestock against this deadly disease."
2016 Rabies Vaccination Clinic Dates, Times, Locations
For more information on the Erie County Department of Health rabies, disease and vector control program, visit http://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=vector-control-program or call 716-961-6800.