Dog, cat and ferret owners encouraged to protect their pets against rabies
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein recently announced the date for a free mid-winter rabies vaccination clinic. The Erie County Department of Health has scheduled this event for 3-7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the North Buffalo Community Center, located at 203 Sanders Road, off Colvin Boulevard in north Buffalo.
“If you own a dog, indoor or outdoor cat or ferret that is due for a rabies vaccination, please plan to come to this event,” Poloncarz said. “This is an important public health initiative, and we will be announcing future dates for spring and fall clinics in the new year.”
“Our Division of Environmental Health and the vector control program vaccinated 3,790 animals in 2019,” Burstein said. “For many people, pets are part of the family, and our clinics help to protect pets from a virus that is deadly to mammals and to humans.”
Volunteers from the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society, the Medaille College veterinary technology program, the SPCA Serving Erie County and Erie County SMART provide support to run this clinic and others throughout the year.
“We’re appreciative of the partnerships we’ve built with these organizations for our rabies clinics,” Poloncarz said. “We see hundreds of pets come through each clinic, and volunteer support makes these events run smoothly.”
Any pet is at risk of being exposed to a rabid wild animal. Rabies is always fatal in animals.
“ECDOH identified a total of 24 animals that tested positive for rabies in 2019 in rural, suburban and urban areas of Erie County,” Senior Public Health Sanitarian Peter Tripi said. “At all times of the year, we see bats get into homes as they seek warmth and winter is no exception. Even ‘indoor’ pets can be exposed to rabies.”
He added, “Our goal is to have 100% of dogs, cats and ferrets in Erie County protected from rabies through vaccination.”
Additional rabies vaccination clinic locations and dates will be announced in 2020.
Erie County residents should contact the Department of Health at 716-961-6800 if they, a family member or a pet is ever exposed to a wild animal, or if a dog or cat bites them.
For more information, visit the Erie County Department of Health rabies vaccine clinic page. For details on what to do if a bat is in your home, visit http://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=there-bat-my-house-what-should-i-do.